Tuesday, June 18, 2024

American military nostalgia visit for RAF Saltby D-Day commemoration

A D-Day 80th anniversary event at Saltby airfield on 8 June will turn back the clock to commemorate its wartime role.

RAF Saltby was home to America’s 9th Troop Carrier Command during 1944, flying paratroopers of the US 82nd Airborne Division to Normandy as part of the D-Day invasion of Europe.

The D-Day 80th Anniversary Commemoration at RAF Saltby event, from 10.30 – 3pm, will include a service of commemoration, military re-enactors, an Army field kitchen and talks in the Buckminster Gliding Club clubhouse.

The event is free but tickets for the airfield access and talks must be booked separately via Ticket Tailor.

Senior United States’ military representatives will be attending on a nostalgia visit to an airfield that played a significant role in the Allied war effort, the latest in a series of such visits.

They include the commander of the United States 314th Airlift Wing from Little Rock, Arkansas, the modern day equivalent of the 314th Troop Carrier Wing operating from RAF Saltby in 1944.

Author and Troop Carrier Command world authority, Lt Col Mark Vlahos, is also attending, giving an illustrated talk – RAF Saltby 314th Troop Carrier Group – and offering to sign any of his books for visitors who have previously bought copies.

He will be portraying Colonel Clayton Stiles, the Commander of the 314th Troop Carrier Group stationed at RAF Saltby in WW2, ‘visiting’ for the first time since the war ended.

Another talk from heritage specialist Brian Riley – Airborne Forces of Britain, the United States and Poland – focuses on the unique alliance and presence locally of Allied airborne forces from the United States, Britain and Poland that helped change the course of the war.

Darren Bond’s talk – America’s 82nd Airborne Division – will reveal the division’s history and its association with RAF Saltby and includes a demonstration of battle kit worn by both American and British airborne soldiers.

Cllr Richard Dixon-Warren, SKDC Armed Forces Champion, said: “RAF Saltby played a critical role in the invasion of Europe and we are delighted to help tell the story of the American contribution that helped turn the tide of war.”

For Buckminster Gliding Club, Chairman John Elkington said: “We are extremely proud of the heritage here at the airfield. We have a permanent memorial to allied forces and this event is an opportunity to honour the American troops and aircraft that flew from here on 6 June 1944.”

The commemoration is the latest in a series of US nostalgia visits over the years. The 314th Airlift Wing also gifted £3,000 to help restore the bells at Saltby Church.

The event has been organised by South Kesteven District Council, Saltby Airfield History Group and the Buckminster Gliding Club.


Image credit: Stock.adobe.com/Robert L Parker

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