Suffolk

Parham Airfield WW2 graffiti sparks US serviceman search

Man covers graffiti in chalk Image copyright The Eighth in the East
Image caption The graffiti was covered in white chalk to help expose the message that was written in the concrete

A search is under way to find the family of an American airman whose name was found scrawled in graffiti at an United States airbase in Suffolk.

World War Two US Serviceman H. D. Cox inscribed his name, date and hometown in concrete at Parham Airfield on the eve of D-Day.

Heritage group The Eighth in the East said it wanted to know more about him.

Project manager David Cain said: "We can still see the buildings but they can't tell us about the individuals."

Image copyright The Eighth in the East
Image caption David Cain said constant repairs were made at the base, giving the airman the chance to leave his mark

The Heritage Lottery-funded project, based in Halesworth, Suffolk, is looking at the legacy the US Eighth Army Air Force (8th AAF) left in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.

The US airman daubed his details into a newly-repaired part of hard-standing for planes on 5 June 1944, the day before D-Day, but it is not known if he flew in the base's bombers or was a ground crew member.

However, the project quickly discovered the soldier's hometown of Buttonwillow was in California and his first name was Hubert after posting photos on Facebook.

Image copyright The Eighth in the East
Image caption The project posted photos of the graffiti on Facebook and discovered that Buttonwillow was a place

"There would have been a feeling of celebration as on the base they would have known about these missions," said Mr Cain.

"We are now hoping to put a face to a name and trying to find out more about his story.

"Buttonwillow was a place I'd never heard of - it only has a population of 1,000 people. I imagine this man is dead now but I hope people there might know about him."

The group now wants to explore other parts of the huge base for more graffiti.

Parham Airfield was home to the US air force's 390th Bombardment Group, which operated the B-17 Flying Fortresses.

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