A fund-raising campaign has been launched to raise £100,000 towards the cost of restoring a Second World War airfield control tower at Elvington which witnessed hundreds of allied bombing raids over occupied Europe and Nazi Germany.

The tower at the Yorkshire Air Museum – formerly RAF Elvington – has been described as the 'the eyes and ears' of wartime bombing operations against Nazi Germany, and is one of the last of its kind still standing.

But the years have taken their toll. The tower's windows are cracked and the external rendering needs replacing.

The tower is at the centre of the museum, which is also the Allied Air Force Memorial. It was saved from dereliction 40 years ago, but the air museum says it needs further restoration to preserve it for the future.

York Press: The control tower todayThe control tower today (Image: Yorkshire Air Museum)

The museum is looking to raise £100,000 towards the cost of the work, which will be carried out by specialist builders and engineers at a total cost of about £200,000.

Chair of Trustees and founder of the museum Rachel Semlyen said: “In the 1980s we rescued the tower and the site to create a museum and memorial.

"During lockdown we had a survey of the Tower and it was found to be leaking badly.

"Earlier this year we repaired the roof, the rusted iron balustrade, the gutters and the staircases. But now to complete this specialist restoration work and prevent further decay, we need to find more than £200,000 – of which the museum has only half.”

The museum says the building was the 'eyes and ears of operations against Nazi Germany'.

From behind its windows, RAF personnel watched thousands of Halifax bombers take to the skies. Almost half would not return from their missions.

It stands as a living memorial to the bravery and sacrifice of RAF Bomber Command.

Out of 4,000 sorties made from RAF Elvington during the war, almost half of all the aircrews involved (more than 700 young men) were killed or made prisoners of war.

They came from the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, as well as from France, with two bomber squadrons of the Free French Air Force being stationed at Elvington in the last year of the war.

The base closed after the war and was abandoned. The runway was extended for use by US Air Force bombers but they never arrived.

Yorkshire Air Museum has launched its Save Our Tower fundraiser to coincide with the first bombing missions from the former airbase in 1943.

Donations can be made online or in person at the museum and a serious of special events are planned for 2023.

For more information about the fundraising campaign for the tower, or to donate, visit yorkshireairmuseum.org/