New aviation museum proposed for Observer area

Rene Broone and Mike Jupp by the Bersted Sign. Picture by Kate Shemilt.C141502-1
Rene Broone and Mike Jupp by the Bersted Sign. Picture by Kate Shemilt.C141502-1

BRAVE pilots from a North Bersted airfield who played an important role on D-Day could be honoured in a new £8m museum.

Illustrator Mike Jupp wants to create the visitor attraction to commemorate the work of the advanced landing ground which was created alongside Shripney Lane.

The airfield, or ALG, had a key role in the Allied landings on the beaches of northern France on June 6, 1944. Yet their role has largely been ignored in the passing decades.

Mr Jupp, 67, of Addison Way, wants to put that right.

“There were eight or nine ALGs and, probably the most important one on the morning of D-Day was here,” he said. “This is going to be a 21st-century museum.

“This is of international importance and will be a world beater. People will come from all over the world to see it.

“I want to educate children and their parents of the bravery of the people, men and women, who passed through the ALG.

“It’s a pride we should have.”

Tangmere already boasts a renowned aviation museum and one of its duty managers Rene Broone has been very involved in the exciting new project.

“We’re looking at a totally new approach to informing and educating the public,” he said.

“Basically, we’re going for electronic media. We’re going to get away from dusty cabinets and artificial mannequins that aren’t realistically depicting the event.”

He also said the two musuems could be a great benefit for the area.

“As far as the Tangmere perspective goes Tangmere aren’t involved in this,” he said, adding that once the new museum was up and running hopefully the pair could work together as friends in the industry.

Mr Jupp, who is the art director of the new Wombles series for TV, became aware of the ALG’s place in the area’s history when he was asked by Bersted Parish Council to create a parish road sign at the site.

This was unveiled in November, 2013, to great acclaim on the verge next to the farm which stands on the former airfield, which he has dubbed RAF Bognor.

The ALG was also recalled in a D-Day 70th anniversary celebration last June at the council’s Jubilee Fields, close to the landing ground.

“So many people turned up who never knew there was an airfield there and never knew the special importance it had on D-Day,” said Mr Jupp. “It’s something this town and this country should be proud of.”

Mr Jupp envisages using the latest computer-generated special effects to bring the airfield alive.

“It won’t be a museum full of airplane parts which no-one will know anything about kept in dusty cabinets,” he said. “It will be about educating children without them knowing it.”

He is also working with the Belgian air force and the Royal British Legion’s Aldwick branch, with its links with the air force in Norway, to recognise those countries’ pilots who flew from the ALG.

He has informal backing for some of the museum’s cost but also expects to seek the help from the Heritage Lottery Fund.