RAF Goxhill watch office reopens in US

Green building with a WWII aircraft stationed in front Image copyright Military Aviation Museum
Image caption The former RAF Goxhill watch office has been rebuilt in Virginia using the original features and materials after the building was dismantled brick by brick in 2003

An RAF building which was dismantled and moved to the US is to reopen after it was rebuilt in Virginia.

Goxhill was the first RAF site handed to the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) in 1942. The station was used by the Americans as a training base.

The site's watch office was later acquired by the Military Aviation Museum in 2003, before being taken down brick by brick and shipped to Virginia Beach.

It is due to open on Saturday.

Image copyright ARG
Image caption The historic building stood dilapidated in Goxhill after its closure in 1953 until it was acquired and removed by the Military Aviation Museum in 2003
Image copyright ARG/Military Aviation Museum
Image caption Construction of the historic building started in 2014. The interior is also set to be returned to its original state, Mr Potter said

Museum Director Mike Potter said the tower was "something of a shrine to many visitors, and it is a distinct honour to be able to offer guests the only experience of its type in our country".

"The entire control tower was taken apart and transported, right down to the brickwork and the loos. The door and window frames were rusted beyond re-tasking, but the original manufacturer in the UK, Crittall, was able to remake those designs from the original specifications."

Image copyright Military Aviation Museum/ARG
Image caption When completed, the rooms will display WWII memorabilia including letters from RAF and USAAF personnel, Mr Potter says

He said the components were kept in storage and after three years of "painstaking" reconstruction using original features, the building is to welcome visitors in a special event celebrating the 75th anniversary of the station's US handover.

Mr Potter said the interior would also be returned to its original condition with the rooms displaying wartime memorabilia including photographs and letters from RAF and USAAF servicemen.

But he expects it to "take several years" before it is fully completed.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption A ceremony was held at Goxhill to mark the US handover of the Watch Office, which was attended by General Dwight D Eisenhower who would later become the 34th US president

The reconstruction was aided by the Airfield Research Group (ARG) charity, which sent architectural details including plans, drawings and photos.

Chairman Paul Francis said: "It is brilliant, the museum should be applauded for what they have achieved.

"We are proud to have been involved with its restoration."

The airfield was transferred back to the RAF in 1945 and the tower remained derelict after it closed in 1953.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites