England

World War II US airfields in East Anglia project to record history

  • 17 September 2013
  • From the section England
US servicemen at Horsham St Faith airfield
About 200,000 men and women served with the USAF at bases across East Anglia in World War II
Horsham St Faith airbase
One of the Norfolk bases, Horsham St Faith, became Norwich Airport after the war
Horham 95th Bomb Group Museum
One of the partners in the project is the 95th Bomb Group Museum at Horham, Suffolk
Red Feather Club, Horham, Suffolk
Horham's museum is in a reconstructed officers mess called the Red Feather Club
Metfield airfield, Suffolk
Metfield in Suffolk is an example of an airfield that was returned to agricultural use

A project to record the history of East Anglian airfields used by the United States during World War II has been given £575,000.

New Heritage Solutions wants its Eighth In The East project to collect the stories of Americans who served and local people who lived near the bases 1942-45.

The project has been awarded the grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

It aims to work with local museums, record memories and collect photos.

The project will look at the 67 airfields in the East which provided bases for USAF bombing raids over Germany.

About 200,000 US personnel served in East Anglia in what became known as the 'friendly invasion'.

'Keep heritage alive'

Nick Patrick, project leader, said: "The actual airfields themselves are decaying and the people who've kept alive this history are sadly passing away, as the air crew are too.

"There are some tremendous voluntary museums that keep this heritage alive, such as Horham and Parham in Suffolk, but they need young people to come in and take up this history.

"We hope by the end of the three year project there will be things like cycling and walking tours, museum offers and people coming to East Anglia will know about this history."

The airfields had up to 4,000 people living on them and the project covers Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Northamptonshire and Suffolk.

The Eastern Angles Theatre Company is also involved in the project.

Its artistic director Ivan Cutting is also the creative director for the Eighth In The East project.

He said: "The ambition is to deliver new skills through project activities and encourage the next generation of archaeologists, museum curators, photographers, film-makers and creative writers."

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