The history of the American Air Force’s 490th Bomb Group airmen who served at Eye Airfield during the Second World War will be shared with the wider community after a grant award of nearly £40,000.
It is hoped the community project, led by students from Hartismere School and assisted by volunteers, will be completed by May 2016. It has been made possible following a grant award from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) of £39,100.
Using the medium of film to record their progress, the project will help young people explore the life of the young US airmen who lived on the airfield during 1944/45 and how their presence affected the local community.
The students will also be involved in creating a heritage trail across the airfield and researching and producing information boards, as well as help create a small museum within the school and be involved in landscaping the area around the forthcoming war memorial.
The students will also be supporting various fundraising events relevant to this era culminating in the dedication of the war memorial in May 2016.
Richard Flagg, Chairman of the 490th Memorial project said “We are so excited to have received this award from the Heritage Lottery Fund and are certain that the work we all do together will help the students to become more informed about their community’s history and be able to inspire them to share their knowledge with others for years to come.”
Robyn Llewellyn, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund for the East of England, added: “We are very pleased to support this project which is a great example of how HLF Young Roots grants help young people explore their heritage.
“This project will engage the students at Hartismere School and help them to discover the stories of the young Americans who served and those who died some 70 years ago at their local airbase.”
The legacy of the airmen is set to be further immortalised with the dedication of a memorial to the 490th.
It is hoped this will be dedicated at a ceremony in May 2016.
n For more information, visit www.490th.co.uk