Duke of Edinburgh gives museum royal seal of approval
17:49 28 April 2014
Archant Norfolk 2014
The Duke of Edinburgh was welcomed back into the secretive world of military surveillance today when he returned to the RAF Neatishead radar museum near Horning.
His visit marked the launch of a fundraising drive at the museum, aimed to enhance the collection and build a new outdoor display area to house its Bloodhound missile and vintage mobile radar.
After arriving by helicoptor, the 92-year-old was taken on a tour of the 20th century from the 1940s Battle of Britain through to covert operations in the Cold War.
And the duke, who served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War, last visited the radar base in 2001.
He addressed trustees, volunteers and visitors at the end of his tour where he said it was nice to be back again.
He said: “It so happens that while all this was going on I was sailing up and down the east coast.
“It is a great place and I am really glad to see it is doing so well and I hope the new development will make it even more interesting.”
As his tour took him through decades of military history, he was shown how Britain fought back through the Second World War, and the country’s defence system through the long Cold War.
In the 1940 Battle of Britain room museum volunteer Bob Smith, 76, showed the duke how German aircraft were monitored as they approached allied territory.
Mr Smith, who worked at the base in the late 1990s, said: “It went better than I was expecting, I was worried about what to say.
“I was very nervous but he seemed to be interested and came up with some pertinent questions which almost floored me.”
Click here for a look back at the RAF Neatishead museum
Air Commodore Kevin Pellatt, who ran operations at RAF Neatishead in the 1990s, said the visit had been a success.
He said: “He was very interested in everything we had to show him and very knowledgeable about military history.
“And he noticed things that had changed between last time and this time.”
Click here for a look at the museum’s top 10 exhibits
The £2m-£3m improvements, designed by architect Mike Innes, will include space and indoor protection for larger exhibits which are currently outdoors.
And the display, catering and educational facilities inside the museum will also be given a refresh.
See tomorrow’s papers for more pictures of today’s royal visit.