Airmen who served in Eye during war to be immortalised in new memorial

The American Airmen who served at Eye Airfield will be honoured with a memorial, set to be dedicated next year. ANL-150325-114655001
The American Airmen who served at Eye Airfield will be honoured with a memorial, set to be dedicated next year. ANL-150325-114655001
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American airmen who served in Eye during the Second World War will be immortalised next year with the dedication of a memorial at the town’s airfield.

A group of residents in Eye first came together in May to discuss the possibility of creating a permanent memorial at the airfield to the men who served in the 490th Bombardment Group at Eye Airfield, who flew 158 missions from June 1944 to July 1945.

And towards the end of February, the £15,000 fundraising target was met, following donations from as far as the United States.

It is hoped it will be dedicated at a ceremony in May 2016, with veterans and relatives of those who served at the base set to attend.

Clive Stevens, a member of the memorial project, praised the support of local people and businesses in their efforts, as well as Eye Town Council.

“I think we have achieved the target in a staggering amount of time because we did not start this campaign until the end of August and we thought it would take at least 12 months,” he said.

“It gives a very good demonstration of the feeling still felt in the community of the effect the servicemen made here 70 years ago.

“I think the whole thing has got a feel-good factor to it. I think people are keen to see this memorial put up and I think there is a strong sense of community behind it.”

The second phase of fundraising has now begun, which would see additional tributes to the group.

This would include a roll of honour in the town hall, a trail of key points at the airfield, and books and artefacts at Hartismere School to maintain the local link.

n The next event for the group is an updated presentation of The Friendly Invasion, which covers the USAAF in East Anglia, and the wartime history of Eye Aerodrome.

It will be held at The Vine Church, Church Street, Eye, at 7.30pm, and will also feature footage from an 8mm colour film, of scenes from the airfield and the town from the 1940s.

Advanced tickets only at £8.50, including supper, are available by emailing 490thmemorial@gmail.com or calling 07725 461189