A walk and talk at RAF Alconbury

The 8th in the East team headed out to RAF Alconbury last week, home of the US 423d Force Support Squadron, to lead events for air force personnel and local residents alike. The two day event was organised by the RAF Alconbury Heritage Group.

The active part of RAF Alconbury is actually located on the World War Two site of Station 547 Abbots Ripton, home of the 2nd Strategic Air Depot, whilst the World War Two airfield site of Alconbury is located on the “other side of the fence” and is currently under development.

On Monday our Community Archaeologist, with support from Paul Bellamy from the Alconbury Heritage Centre and the Airfield Research Group, led two walks around the base looking at the surviving WW2 structures and explaining there original function. Almost 80 people attended including Lt. Col. Cornell Burgess and Col. Kevin Cullen, the new commander of the 501st Combat Support Wing, along with other base personnel, their family members and local residents

This was followed up on Tuesday when the 8th in the East’s own Project Manager was invited to give a talk at the bases first ever Heritage Luncheon. The talk explained the 8th in the East project, and gave an insight into the work we’ve done with schools and other volunteers to date. He also looked at the social history through some of the stories of the Americans time here in the east of England during WW2. The stories of the animal mascots, including a honey bear, coyote and monkey caught the interest of many of the attendees.

Our Project Manager was also joined by Jenny Cousins, Programme Leader of the American Air Museum at IWM Duxford, who gave a talk about the American Air Museums new website. The new website is also supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and aims to record the stories of the men and women of the US Army Air Forces (USAAF) and the memories of the British people who befriended them through images and memories.

We would like to say a big thankyou to the US Air Force for hosting us. Don’t forget if you would like to get involved in the project drop us a line.