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High flying start to new Diss museum season

PUBLISHED: 15:19 11 March 2019 | UPDATED: 09:18 13 March 2019

Wing Commander Richard Youngs (left) opens Diss Museum for the 2019 season introduced by manager Basil Abbott in the guise of General Maitland of the R34 airship. Picture: Diss Museum

Wing Commander Richard Youngs (left) opens Diss Museum for the 2019 season introduced by manager Basil Abbott in the guise of General Maitland of the R34 airship. Picture: Diss Museum

Archant

Diss Museum got its 2019 season off to a flying start when manager Basil Abbott donned an airship crew outfit to mark its official opening.

A major exhibition celebrating the centenary of the R34 airship’s record-breaking flight across the Atlantic is a highlight of the museum’s programme this year.

The museum season was officially opened by Wing Commander Richard Youngs who was introduced by Mr Abbott in the guise of Brigadier-General Edward Maitland, a crew member when in July 1919 the R34 flew from Scotland to Long Island and back to RAF Pulham.

The R34 is man-handled into one of Pulham’s giant airship sheds on July 13, 1919. Picture: Archant LibraryThe R34 is man-handled into one of Pulham’s giant airship sheds on July 13, 1919. Picture: Archant Library

The South Norfolk village achieved international fame when the massive 634ft aircraft landed at Pulham Air Station following its epic journey of some 3,130 miles.

Museums around the world are joining Diss in celebrating this record-breaking aviation feat — the first double flight across the Atlantic.

Members of the East Anglian Meccano Set in naval caps as they presented a model of the R34 airship to Diss Museum manager Basil Abbott. Picture: Diss MuseumMembers of the East Anglian Meccano Set in naval caps as they presented a model of the R34 airship to Diss Museum manager Basil Abbott. Picture: Diss Museum

The special exhibition tells the story and includes airship themed works by local art and textile groups, a model of the R34 airship made by members of the East Anglian Meccano Set and a special interactive app made by University of Suffolk students allowing people to explore the story of the airship’s voyage.

The museum also has 60 new exhibits on show including a First World War needlepoint cushion cover made by Mr W Flatman of Brockdish, a Box Brownie camera, four hand-made wooden jigsaws with illustrations by H. St. Winslade, school badges from The Entry House School and Aldrich family photographs.

University of Suffolk students Tom Gibbs, Henry Crofts and Elliot Chester who have developed a phone app based on the R34 airship. Picture: Diss MuseumUniversity of Suffolk students Tom Gibbs, Henry Crofts and Elliot Chester who have developed a phone app based on the R34 airship. Picture: Diss Museum

The first community cabinet display of the new season is a hand embroidered replica of scenes from the Bayeux Tapestry.

The museum also has a selection of donated books on sale, comprising a range of over 30 titles dealing with Second World War and the history leading up to it. The books are now on sale as are large number of donated jazz CDs and box-sets. All funds from book and CD sales go the running and upkeep of the museum.

• Diss Museum is open daily 11am-3pm until late October.

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