See our Unique Original Photographic Archive Documenting the major role this historic airfield played during the night of June 5th and the D-Day operation on June 6th 1944 and the Bravery of the men who flew from here.
All housed within part of the original 439th Troop Carrier Group HQ Officers’ Complex and original Nissen Hut
Proceed to junction of A30/A35 follow signs to Dunkeswell and then follow signs to Smeatharpe , Past Airfield then go through village. Past village Hall Which sometimes has American flag ,outside, But that’s not us. Past the farm shop then turn right. We are about 500 yards down on the right hand side
Proceed out of Taunton on the Honiton Road go up Blagdon Hill past Culmhead business park take right fork follow signs Smeatharpe Just past Devon Boundary Sign, road bends to right take immediate left turn We are about 700 yards down on the right hand side.
Upottery was the last of three wartime airfields to be built on the Blackdown Hills. On 25th & 26th April 1944, the USAAF 439th Troop Carrier Group arrived by air and road from Balderton airfield, Nottinghamshire bringing four Troop Carrier Squadrons each, with around twenty Douglas C-47 transport planes in preparation for the invasion of Normandy on D Day
Shortly afterwards over 1300 American paratroops from the 1st & 2nd Battalions of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, moved down from Aldbourne, Wiltshire together with over 1000 American glider troops of the 325th and 401st Glider Infantry Regiments, 82nd Airborne Division .
The exhibition in our Heritage Centre features a unique collection of photographs, of Aircraft and Personnel preparing for the invasion. Many are on loan from the family of the late Col Charles H Young, who was the war- time USAAF Commander of the 439th TCG.
The Photographs show the training the pilots undertook , the briefings, and also show the troops literally minutes before they flew to Normandy !
They provide a rare insight into what took place prior to D Day and the missions that took place after the invasion.
We think you will not fail to be moved and impressed by the courage and bravery of those who spearheaded the Normandy invasion and who gave us the freedom we enjoy today.
In addition to our photographic collection Come and See :-
Film of the D day Landings
The Uniforms they Wore
The Weapons they used
The conditions they Lived in
Dioramas & Models
Local WW2 Memorabilia
Uniforms for Children to dress up in
Plus see our Pictures of the Real Band of Brothers. Upottery was the departure field for the well known men of ‘Easy Company’, 2nd battalion the 506th PIR, who were famously featured in Stephen Spielberg's TV series.
The Heritage centre is open from:
Good Friday to the last Sunday of October (unless otherwise stated)
Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays
11am - 4pm Other times can sometimes be arranged. For example if you happen to visit and we are closed, please call 07778 85 77 22 and we will do our best to help
Please note this will be subject to minimum donation being agreed before you visit and the availability of Volunteers to open up.
Entrance to our Heritage centres is by donation.
While Entry to the Exhibition is free We do rely totally on the generosity of Visitors and Sponsors to maintain this heritage centre.Please Note We are a registered Not for Profit charitable educational Trust. All our staff are volunteers who are totally unpaid and we are not funded by any commercial organisation other than our corporate sponsors who help us with our Advertising and marketing.
All our running Costs are met by public donations
Each Centre costs approximately £30.00 a day to operate
So please do help us to keep going by giving us a donation so that we can continue to maintain and develop this centre for future generations
The Heritage Centre access is all on ground level, with the exception of one room
Children must be accompanied and supervised by an adult at all times. Well behaved dogs are permitted.
GROUPS are very welcome and guided tours are available by prior arrangement. Please see Airfield Tours Please call us on 07778 85 77 22
The Heritage Centre can provide Tea, Coffee and Biscuits.
However for those seeking more substantial food The Sidmouth Arms in Upottery opens daily throughout the year in line with Heritage centre’s Opening Hours and sells a selection of "home" cooked hot and cold food, fresh ground coffee and cakes to round off your visit to the centre.