Metheringham Airfield Visitor Centre (MAVC) opens for its 2024 season on Saturday 30 March with a range of new exhibits and stories based around the museum’s resident C47 Dakota, an example of the aircraft which were vital to the success of the Allied invasion of Normandy in 1944.

The hangar in which the Dakota, whose wartime registration was KG651, has an exciting new set of display boards which tell the story of its wartime operations in Lincolnshire, including in casualty evacuation and repatriation at RAF Metheringham following D-Day.

The aircraft’s unique combined RAF and USAAF paint job has been updated to include the mission markings of 14 Troop Carrier Squadron and nose art featuring “Rabbit Pye”, a tribute to former MAVC volunteer John Pye. Visitors who sit in the cockpit of the aircraft are now able to see a view of RAF Metheringham as it appeared in 1944 and an imagined scene including the 106 Squadron Lancasters of former Commanding Officer Guy Gibson and its Victoria Cross winner Norman Jackson.

Ian Brett, MAVC’s Chief Engineer, said:

“We’ve been hard at work during the closed season making improvements and are proud of what we’ve achieved. The Dakota looks even better than before and we still have the added advantage of being able to let people climb inside her and look around. The other new exhibits in the hangar are worth a look too, including a rare Welbike, a folding motorbike dropped from Dakotas for use by paratroopers, and a replica Upkeep “bouncing bomb” to reflect RAF Metheringham’s connection to the Dams Raid in 1943.”

Research conducted in the archives at MAVC this winter has uncovered a treasure trove of real-life stories about the men and women who lived and worked at the airfield during the Second World War. The museum’s displays have been enhanced for the 2024 season to bring to life the exploits of half a dozen remarkable individuals, including Clifford Thompson, the first pilot at RAF Metheringham to use FIDO, an innovative system which enabled the airfield to be used safely in fog and bad weather. The stories are accompanied by a range of artefacts including logbooks and even the flying jacket of a member of 106 Squadron.

MAVC’s regular lecture series swings into action in March too. The 2024 programme is one of the museum’s best ever and includes sessions on Bomber Command in Lincolnshire during the Second World War, Coastal Command and the Battle of the Atlantic, and Operation Overlord. Details of the programme, which kicks off on Wednesday 27 March, are available on the MAVC website.

MAVC is run entirely by Volunteers and is looking for more willing people to add to its team. A range of roles are available for anyone with the interest, passion and a few hours a month to spare. Anyone interested should visit the vacancies page on the MAVC website.