Duxford Imperial War Museum in WW2 USAF family photo appeal

Lt Harry R Erickson Bombardier Lt Harry R Erickson was shot down in 1942 and was a prisoner of war for nearly three years

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A museum is asking people to share family photographs and memories of US airmen and women stationed in Britain during World War Two.

The Imperial War Museum in Duxford, Cambridgeshire has set up a website in a bid to create a digital record of the USAF's time in Britain during the conflict.

Maj Jesse Davis with girl from Duxford US bases held open days for locals. Maj Jesse Davis of 78th Fighter Group with a girl from Duxford

Project leader Jenny Cousins said: "Some of the photographs on our website show the Americans talking to local children during the Second World War.

"Perhaps someone using our website will recognise their grandma or, better still, perhaps she will recognise herself."

Charles Jackson and other American airmen, Rackheath, Norfolk Charles Jackson, third from the left, top row, from 467th Bomb Group with other US airmen in Norfolk

The site already boasts 5,000 photographs from the collection of aviation historian Roger A Freeman.

He collected more than 15,000 prints and slides before his death in 2005. The research centre at the Eighth Air Force museum in Pooler, Georgia, USA, is named after him.

Cpt Gordon J Burris Cpt Gordon J Burris with a model he developed to help pilots visualise formations of bombers and fighters

By 1944, the United States Army Air Force (USAAF) employed 450,000 Americans in Britain.

The majority were not fighter pilots or bomber crew, but undertook a wide range of tasks to help keep aircraft flying. Almost 30,000 American airmen flying from UK bases died during World War Two.

Cpt Edmund J Skoner Cpt Edmund J Skoner was chaplain of the 303rd Bombardment Group, known as the Hell's Angels

Many thousands of women from the American Red Cross were also based in Britain, as well as canteen workers.

The American Air Museum website hopes the project will reveal more about the largely untold stories of the USAAF bakery, laundry and catering teams which supported the airbases.

The website was awarded £980,000 in December 2013 by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The HLF's head in the east of England Robyn Llewellyn said: "This project will... bring many fascinating stories to life, hopefully through vivid photography and stories of local communities just waiting to be told."

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