Ground Floor Exhibition Area

Things to See

  • Map showing the location of bombs that fell on Lowestoft in WW2. The blue dots show the location of two V1 rockets that fell on Lowestoft.
  • Morrison table shelter air raid. Production on these indoor shelters was ordered when it became clear not everyone had access to an outdoor or garden shelter.
  • The Morrison shelter was designed by John Baker and named after the Minister of Home Security, Herbert Morrison.
    The shelters came in kits which could be assembled (bolted together) in the home.
    It was designed to be slept under at night and used as a table for the rest of the time.
    The shelter had over 350 parts, but mainly consisted of a steel top (like a table top) and wire mesh sides (one of which could be lifted open and acted as the door).
    The Morrison shelter was not designed to survive a direct hit from a bomb, but it was really effective at protecting people from the effects of a bomb blast.
    Over 500,000 Morrison shelters were made and they were given free of charge to families who earned less than £350 a year.
  • Stirrup pumps for domestic fire-fighting.
  • Air Raid siren from CWS (co-op) factory demolished in the 1990s.
  • WW1 archaeology; including a shrapnel shell converted into a gas alarm, British rifle and tommy helmet.
  • Pieces of German naval shell from 1916 bombardment.
  • Christmas tin presented to troops by Princess Mary, these contained either tobacco, chocolate or cigarettes and came with a pencil and Christmas card.
  • Things to Handle

  • ARP hand bell used to indicate all clear, ARP hand rattle used to indicate Gas Attack.
  • German incendiary bomb can be held to feel the weight (do not drop due to weight and risk of injury). Over 4,000 were dropped on Lowestoft in WW2.
  • Fragment from a German bomb dropped on Lowestoft (large piece of American bomb from US Liberators that collided over Henham).
  • WW2 British Army Field telephones in working condition.
  • WW1 handling collection including a 1916 pattern German steel helmet (in entrance lobby).
  • Battle of Britain Room

    Things to See

  • Model of a British air field during the Battle of Britain based on Duxford.
  • Battle of Britain pilot’s flying gear.
  • Wreckage from a Battle of Britain Hurricane.
  • Spitfire ammunition.
  • Things to Handle

  • RAF great coats and steel helmet to try on.
  • Spitfire tail when can be handled with caution due to weight.
  • Main Exhibition Room

    Things to See

  • German flag captured by Lowestoft resident Ernie Betts of the long range desert group, note the bullet holes from Ernie’s Lewis gun. Ernie fired his machine gun at the flag and returned the following day to claim it as a prize after the Germans had abandoned the fort.
  • German U-boat uniforms and badges as captured from U-13 sunk off the coast in 1940. Some secret coding material was also recovered helping the allied effort to break the German Enigma code. The local coast saw much U-boat activity during both world wars. Midget submarines such as the Seehunde (see display) were also active off Lowestoft in WW2.
  • Items found on local beaches, note the land mines, detonated and undetonated. Local beaches were used by allied troops training for the D-Day landings. The Browning 9mm hand gun displayed was probably lost by American or Canadian troops training on Corton Beach.
  • The bent machine gun from a German Me110 that crashed off Corton. The plane dropped its bombs on Whapload Road before it crashed, see the photograph displayed next to the machine gun.
  • Nurses cloak with badges sewn into it given to the nurse by troops she looked after.
  • Biscuit tin of photographs and letters left behind under the floor boards of a house on Marine Parade by Private Holland in 1918.
  • Lowestoft evacuees’ letter home and a wooden toy made by a prisoner of war housed at Ellough airfield.
  • Model of Lowestoft harbour in WW2, with 12-pounder guns, searchlights and rocket launchers mounted on the South pier.
  • Vickers machine gun displayed behind sand bags as used in WW1.
  • Lewis machine gun recovered by a diver from a ship torpedoed off Great Yarmouth in WW2.
  • Wooden hand barrow used by Lowestoft children to earn money by carrying sailors’ kit bags around Lowestoft.
  • Things to Handle

  • British Enfield Rifle, British army equipment to try on, Sten Machine gun (special events only).
  • Top Floor Landing

    Things to See

  • Display on Lowestoft evacuees evacuated to Derbyshire after 1940, and evacuees from Europe who landed at Lowestoft in 1938 (Kindertransport) and London evacuees who arrived by boat in Lowestoft in September 1939. These children were swiftly removed to the safety of the surrounding villages and countryside.
  • Outside Areas

    Things to See

  • Air raid shelter; note gas masks hanging in boxes, chamber pot, paraffin stove, oil lamp and candles, wartime posters. A shelter of this size could sleep up to eight people on bunks either free standing or suspended from the walls of the shelter. In November 1938, Chamberlain placed Sir John Anderson in charge of Air Raid Precautions (ARP). He immediately commissioned the engineer, William Patterson, to design a small and cheap shelter that could be erected in people's gardens.
  • Within a few months nearly one and a half million of what became known as Anderson shelters were distributed to people living in areas expected to be bombed by the Luftwaffe.
  • Anderson shelters were given free to poor people. Men who earned more than £5 a week could buy one for £7. Soon after the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939, over 2 million families had shelters in their garden. By the time of the Blitz this had risen to two and a quarter million.
  • British sea mine and minesweeping gear (next to Jack Rose Memorial garden).
  • Stirrup pump demonstration - Designed to be used by a team of four; One to pump, one to direct the hose, two to carry water and refill the bucket.
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    Lowestoft War Memorial Museum

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