Work starts on new memorial garden at Norfolk airfield

Work has begun on a new memorial garden to commemorate a former second world war airfield's 70th anniversary.

Officials at Old Buckenham Airfield, near Attleborough, have undertaken the project to revamp a memorial in time for Remembrance Sunday next month.

The memorial garden, which is being created on part of a former lawn at the airfield, commemorates the 366 USAAF servicemen who died whilst serving from the former RAF Old Buckenham during the second world war.

The centre piece of the garden will be the existing granite memorial, in the shape of a B-24 Bomber tail plate, which is being moved by the East England Military Museum.

A blue slate path will be laid in the shape of an 8 to commemorate the 8th Air Force. Two new flagpoles will fly the US stars and stripes and Union Jack and the airfield's existing flagpole will fly a new 453rd Bomb Group flag, specially commissioned with the help of the 453rd Bombardment Group Association in the US.

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Matt Wilkins, airfield manager at Old Buckenham, said that with the help of volunteers they aimed to create another memorial with the names of the 366, who died whilst serving at the base.

'It seems appropriate to start the 70th anniversary year of Old Buckenham Airfield by re-affirming our memorial to the 366 most important people in the airfield's history.'

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'The new memorial garden, aligned to face due west, will be an inspiring place for remembrance and reflection. It has been made possible with the help of the East England Military Museum and 453rd Bombardment Group Association, to whom we are extremely grateful,' he said.

The memorial and garden will be dedicated at a special service on Remembrance Sunday at 11am on November 11.

Tim Ramsey, of the 453rd Bombardment Group Memorial Association, added: 'It's hard to believe that it has been 70 years since the USAAF set up operations at Old Buckenham Airfield and overwhelming that after all of these years that the warmth and compassion of the British people for all of these aviators still exist as strong as it does today. We are truly blessed to have this relationship.'

The Remembrance Sunday service will form part of the airfield's Wings and Wheels event, at which classic car owners and pilots are encouraged to visit. Entry is free.

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