Royston Museum exhibition which opens this weekend will say Yanks for the Second World War memories

PUBLISHED: 17:00 12 November 2015

A Butcher in Litlington, photographed by an airman of the US Army Air Force. Written on slide casing: 'Littlington.' Written on reverse of duplicate print: 'Butcher TD Dennis of Royston?

A Butcher in Litlington, photographed by an airman of the US Army Air Force. Written on slide casing: 'Littlington.' Written on reverse of duplicate print: 'Butcher TD Dennis of Royston?

Photo: Imperial War Museum

As the final notes of the Last Post fade in the wake of Remembrance Day services across the region, the sacrifices made 100 years ago by those serving in the First World War remain very fresh in our mind.

But now the focus is set to switch to another global conflict, and one which found Allied airmen in their thousands stationed at bases in East Anglia.

The American pilots and crew who put their lives on the line on bombing raids over Europe in the early 1940s, and the ground staff who supported them, had a massive impact on local lives.

But 70 years ago they were heading home, their battle won, and leaving their bases behind.

Now a touring museum exhibition is arriving in Royston to help a new generation learn about that brief period in the life of the region.

And included in the special events planned at the King Street museum over the coming weeks is a free Christmas party event with a Second World War theme.

The lottery-funded 8th In The East project celebrates the role played the USAAF in Britain during the Second World War.

Project workers have already done lots of work in Norfolk and Suffolk but are now turning their focus on the story in Herts and Cambs.

Their exhibition about the role the American servicemen played in Royston and the surrounding villages during the war begins on Saturday and runs for two months.

And the exhibition will be accompanied by a number of themed events held at Royston Museum.

These include:

Exhibition launch: Saturday, 10.30am to 12 noon, with tea, coffee and cake. Free admission.

Saturday, November 21, 10.30am to 12 noon. Craft activities for children based around the exhibition. £2 per child. Drop-in session, no need to book in advance.

Saturday, November 28, 10.30am to 4pm. Oral History Day, an event for all ages. An opportunity for those who remember the Second World War and its impact on the area to share their memories, and for those of younger generations to hear their stories and help capture them using the latest recording equipment. Free admission.

Saturday, December 5, 10am to 4.30pm. Second World War Christmas party. Royston Museum served as an American Red Cross service station during the war, and this is you chance to step back in time at a themed Christmas party, complete with 1940s style music, refreshments, games and craft activities. Adults £2, children £1. Drop-in event, no need to book in advance.

Museum curator Jenny Oxley said: “It’s fantastic that this regional project is coming to our town and helping us to recognise the role played by the US Air Force both in Royston and at the airfield sites in the local villages such as Fowlmere and Bassingbourn.”

Museum staff will also be hoping to harvest more memories about the period.

Pictured left, part of the Imperial War Museum’s Roger Freeman collection, is an image of Royston butcher T. S. Dennis, photographed – possibly in Litlington – by an American airman of the 8th USAAF. If you’re able to add more details, they’ll be delighted to hear from you.

Click here to find out more about the museum
Click here to find out morea about the 8th in the East project

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