This article appeared in the Ely Ensign in December 2003 on page 16.
Following the Down Memory Lane article that appeared in the September edition of Ely Ensign, reader Mrs Tungate was able to identify the local bobby displayed in one of the enclosed photographs. This is her letter to the Ensign.
One of our readers has named the policemen whose picture, taken in 1944, appeared in Ely Ensign’s September issue. The photo accompanied an article which featured the close friendship that grew up between the young men from the 457th Bomb Group and the residents who lived near Glatton airfield – where these American servicemen were based during the Second World War.
The bomber pilots used the distinctive tower of Conington Church as a marker to navigate their way home after their dangerous raids on Germany. But this striking building turned out to be more than just a navigation point for the aircrews on their return to base; it became a symbol of safety and a reminder of their religious faith.
While they were stationed in England they took hundreds of photographs which capture what is now a part of our social history. Nearly sixty years later many of these veteran Americans still return to England regularly to meet old friends and to revisit All Saints, Conington and next May they celebrate their sixtieth anniversary.
The 457th Bomb Group allowed Ely Ensign to publish some of these and we include a shot of the local policeman’s visit to the base. We asked our readers if they recognised him and Mrs M E Tungate, who lives in the neighbouring village of Holme, remembers him as Fred Sutton.
This is what she wrote:
“I was 12 years old when the Americans came to Glatton airfield in 1943. I lived in the village of Holme with a good view of the airfield. We used to watch the B17s take off and come in to land. Sometimes with a prop stopped and we guessed they had been on a raid.
As school-children they used to treat us to film shows in Holmwood Hall, which they occupied, and Christmas parties in a great hanger on the airfield. Also surplus ice cream was taken to the local schoolmistress and kids used to come from all over the village with a cup to get their share.
When the American’s left, the Nissan huts they had left were converted into homes for local people. These huts were later replaced by houses and bungalows, one of which my husband and I live in at this present time.
The policeman in one of the pictures was Fred Sutton. He lived in Church Street, Holme.
Best wishes to the veterans as they celebrate, happy memories
M E Tungate (Mrs)