Eye Wartime Experience 7th - 9th August 2015 (Suffolk)

Eye Wartime Experience Weekend 7/8/9th August 2015

To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War the 490th BG Memorial Project are organising a weekend event in Eye, Suffolk. The event starts on Friday 7th August at 7.30pm and runs through to late afternoon on Sunday 9th August. 

It is hoped that many shops will be taking part helping to turn Eye back to the 1940's. It is also planned for part of Eye to be closed to traffic (Broad Street - 12 noon to 6pm) except wartime and 1940's vehicles involved with the weekend.

Many events are being organised, including military vehicles and living history groups displaying various aspects of the services during WWII at the community centre and in the playing fields (Magdalen Street).

In the centre of town (Eye is a small historic market town) there will be various vintage civilian and military vehicles on show. 

On Saturday 8th from 10am to 4pm the Town Hall will host an extensive display of 490th BG memorabilia, local history in the war years, the story behind Operation Chowhound and a display of aviation art, in particular an incredible painting up for auction in aid of the 490th memorial by Neil Higgs entitled "Over the moon and safely home".
I will be there displaying my collection of French Résistance objects, photos, posters and leaflets, souvenirs of the Liberation and a selection from my collection of books on the Résistance, some dating from 1945. 

The 490th BG were part of the USAAF. On 14th July 1944, 349 B-17 Flying Fortresses of the U.S. Eight Air Force 3rd Air Division left their bases in Suffolk and Norfolk escorted and protected by 524 U.S. Air Force Mustangs and Thunderbolts. Their mission 'Operation Cadillac' was to parachute arms and supplies to the Résistance in the South West and Centre of France. In total, 3791 containers were dropped and to add to the spectacle the parachutes were in the national colours of France, blue, white and red.

Other events taking place on Saturday :

In the Vine Church (Church Street) there will be a display of 'Make do and Mend' with demonstrations.

The Gospel Hall (Castle Street) will be used as a rest centre serving tea and coffee. Vintage hairdressers Hairaid will also be set up in the Hall (poster/contact details below). 

The Banks Arts Centre will be displaying menus from the 1940's and "Nose Art" created by the students of Hartismere School and at 5pm there will be a presentation by John Davison "In the Groove" - about the affect of the Americans in this country during WWII on our musical tastes. 

At 7.30pm the Town Hall will be turned back to the 1940's with an evening swing dance (poster below).

At 8pm the Community Centre will be hosting a Wartime film night (poster below).

The Queen's Head will be serving breakfast on the Saturday and Sunday from 8 to 11am and on Saturday only a BBQ from 12 noon to 9pm. Menu below. 

On Sunday at 11am Eye's Mayor Maria Ford, on behalf of the town, will be honouring the young men who died flying from Eye Airfield with the 490th BG during WWII, by unveiling a Roll of Honour inside the Town Hall. During the programme Clive Stevens will be presenting a 10 minute slide show showing the history of the 490th at Eye Aerodrome and a student from Hartismere School will make a poetry reading.

From 12 noon until 4pm there will be a military vehicle run from Progress Way (just outside of Eye towards Brome) to Halesworth military Museum (poster below).

For anyone searching vintage 1940's clothes to wear at the weekend event I can recommend a visit to Cornucopia situated in the old Corn Exchange at Harleston just over the border in Norfolk.

Map for all the weekend's events
n J
Friday August 7th at 7.30pm Clive Stevens will be doing his excellent talk "The Friendly Invasion" at the Eye Community Centre, Magdalene Street, Eye. Tickets available on the door (even though it says advance sales only) £8

Saturday 8th August from 5pm until 7pm John Davison will be in the Eye Arts Centre (The Bank Arts and Community Centre, 2, Castle Street, Eye) doing his talk on American music influencing Great Britain during WWII. The event is free to attend but donations are very welcome.

Saturday 8th August at 7.30pm : Evening Swing Dance with the Skyliner Swing Band, a nine piece band and a true 1940's experience at the Town Hall, Eye. 
Licensed Bar. Tickets £12.50 Box Office (09:00 - 17:00 Mon-Fri) : 07831 568330 / 01379 871577 or email 490thmemorial@gmail.com
Tickets now on sale and pre-booking advised !!

Or, you may prefer :

Chilli over Tokyo : Saturday 8th August at 8pm - Eye Community Centre, Eye :
Wartime film night including cartoons and Pathe News with a screening of the classic 30 seconds over Tokyo, starring Spencer Tracy.
Free entry but donations welcome.

Menu for the Queen's Head for the weekend :

August 9th 12 noon to 4:00pm
Eye Wartime Experience Military Vehicle Run setting off from Progress Way (The old Fuel Dump) - Military vehicle road, Eye to Halesworth memorial Museum. No military vehicle ? No problem ! Either hitch a ride in an available seat or travel behind the convoy in your own car. Suggested donation : £6.

Sarah's, Eye's local hairdressers is accepting appointments for vintage styling and vintage hairstylists and make-up artists Hairaid Shelter will be at the Wartime Weekend Experience set up in the Gospel Hall in Castle Street.

In spring 2015 the 490th Memorial Project in partnership with Hartismere School in Eye were given Heritage Lottery funding to support the Memorial Project. Students will now carry out research into the lives of the US servicemen based at Eye in 1944 and 1945. A heritage trail across the old airfield is planned and they will also create a small museum within the school dedicated to the US airmen. The students will also be involved in landscaping the area around the forthcoming memorial.

Photos from the day (link)Website for the 490th Bomb Group Memorial Project (link)
Operation Cadillac (link)