Lest We Forget
The collection is so named after Muckleburgh Hill where the first evidence of a military presence here could be demonstrated from archaeological finds found on the site. In Roman times a signal beacon was situated on the top of Muckleburgh Hill, and from this high point seen from Holme Next the Sea and a further beacon lit there and seen across The Wash, in times of emergency, to summon the garrisoned legions from Lincolnshire.
Every subsequent invader from the Spanish Armada to Napoleon and the Kaiser to Hitler has noted the natural harbour of Weyboume as an ideal place to land an invasion force — hence the couplet,
The camp as we know it today was established from 1935 as an Anti-Aircraft Training Camp. At this time the base was known as Carvel Farm Camp (After the farm which had its land commandeered for the camp) but after a few mix ups and delivery difficulties the name was changed to the more logical Weyboume Camp. During the perishing cold winter of 1940-41 the men of 5th Battalion, The Royal Norfolk Regiment were stationed here on coastal defence duty - It was so cold the sea froze and there was only one flush toilet which was not frozen solid on the whole camp! These brave men were to go to the other extreme in 1942 when they were sent to the opening war in the Far East and were surrendered with the rest of the 18th (Eastern Division) at the fall of Singapore.
Throughout the war the camp played a key role in training AA troops (which included mixed batteries). Queen Bee drone aircraft were flown here (Towing gunnery targets) and experiments were carried out on 3.7 guns being used in anti-tank roles, the camp was even visited by Winston Churchill. A gun crew of girls was lost here in a training accident. We would like to establish who they were and exactly when it happened, but sadly, despite extensive enquiries we have drawn a blank.
The last gun was fired here on 2nd October 1958 and the camp finally closed in 1959. The site then went from year to year in a state of flux. A variety of plans were offered from it being used as an open prison to oil refinery or nuclear power plant, even Billy Butlin came for a look round but no development was undertaken.
In the 1980's the site was acquired by Mr C. Berry Savory and with his son Michael, they began converting the site to the museum seen today. At the time of opening (1988) the principal display consisted of 30 vehicles and a small room describing the camp history. Since then the museum has expanded to include over 120 vehicles, tanks and guns and become home to The Suffolk and Norfolk Yeomanry Collection, The Norfolk St John Ambulance Archive, The North Amateur Norfolk Radio Group and numerous special displays of over 2,500 other exhibits. The vehicles, museum site, and its unspoilt 300 acres has also been in regular use for television films, documentaries and dramas.
Mr Berry Savory, the founder of The Muckleburgh Collection sadly died in 1998, his son Michael has picked up the torch and carries on leading this unique museum, maintaining the traditions and building on the firm foundations laid down by his father.