Supply chain and fulfilment services specialist, Walker Logistics, is hoping to mark the important role that an airfield in Berkshire played during the Second World War by opening a museum on the land where its 250,000 sq ft logistics hub is based.
Situated close to junction 14 of the M4 motorway, Membury airfield was one of the departure points for hundreds of American troops heading for Normandy to take part in the D-Day landings in 1944.
“The men of the US 436th Troop Carrier Group took off from Membury Airfield – where Walker Logistics’ multi-user warehouse is now sited – and we think it would be nice to give something back to an area where something of such huge historic significance took place,” explains Charlie Walker, Walker Logistics’ customer relations director.
It is planned to build the museum as part of a project that will also see the construction of a major new unit that will allow Walker Logistics to significantly increase its existing storage capacity.
A team from Walker is working closely with members of the local community to form a collection of artefacts and memorabilia that will be displayed to help educate all age groups and nationalities about the history of Membury and the surrounding area during the Second World War.
But perhaps the most inspiring exhibit will be a fully restored Dakota C-47 transport plane. One of the actual aircraft that took off from Membury during the Normandy campaign, the C-47 has been returned to its original condition with funds donated by Walker Logistics. The aircraft – christened ‘Night Fright’ – will once again take to the skies over Membury and participate in national and international airshows.
“The plane was about to be destroyed at an Arkansas scrap yard but we saved it,” explains Charlie Walker.
He adds: “We feel that bringing it ‘back to base’ once again and displaying the aircraft for everyone to see will be a fitting tribute to the men who left Membury to take part in the allied invasion of occupied Europe in 1944.”
Charlie Walker concludes: “Corporate social responsibility is high on Walker’s agenda and we feel that this unique project is an excellent way of paying homage to Membury’s past as we build for its future prosperity.”