Satnav confuses Wiltshire village for mighty US airbase

Satellite navigation system
Image caption The village of Mildenhall is 180 miles away from RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk.

A Wiltshire village is being mistaken for one of the UK's largest US airbases on in-car satnav systems.

US service personnel are being directed to Mildenhall, near Marlborough, instead of RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk.

Tony Fishlock, a local resident, said: "They arrive, pick up their hire car, punch the destination Mildenhall into their satnav and away they go.

"Arriving they are puzzled to see no KC 135s circling nor any sign of one of the largest air bases in Europe."

RAF Mildenhall, in Suffolk, is one of the largest US airbases in the UK. It is home to several airborne units and supports 16,000 personnel

Mildenhall, Wiltshire, is a village of thatched cottages with a population of 457 in the 2001 census. The name is pronounced "Minal".

Fighter pilot

John Desmond, the landlord of the Horseshoe Inn, said: "It's been going on for years.

"It's mainly American airforce personnel that end up in the village asking, 'Where's the airbase?' but we also get German lorry drivers and French lorry drivers.

"They're gobsmacked when they find out that the base is 180 miles away in Suffolk."

Despite reports that a USAF navigator, major and fighter pilot are among those who have ended up in the village, the RAF base says it has no records of "lost personnel".

"I can't imagine it happens too often," said Capt Lindsey Hahn.

"But then again any newcomers being briefed on arrival might not admit to getting lost."

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