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A look back in time with vintage events

The Swan in Lavenham has close links with USAAF ANL-160814-235500009
The Swan in Lavenham has close links with USAAF ANL-160814-235500009

Lavenham is commemorating the 75th anniversary of United States forces arriving in the East of England to support the Second World War.

The Swan Hotel, along with events group The Baker Boy Collective, are staging a number of vintage 1940s events across the village in May, with money raised going to the Lavenham Community Council and SSAFA, the armed forces charity.

The events include a swing dance, a vintage afternoon tea, a film show, and a history talk about the 487th Bombardment Group, 8th United States Army Air Force which was based at nearby Lavenham Airfield.

There is also a walk planned to Lavenham airfield and a commemorative service to be held in the village church.

Vintage events will continue to be held annually in Lavenham, leading up to the 75th anniversary of VE Day on 8th May 2020.

In 2018, Lavenham will mark the creation of Lavenham Airfield, while in 2019 the village will commemorate the start of operational flights by the 487th Bombardment Group.

Everything will culminate in a celebration and commemoration of the 75th anniversary of VE Day in May 2020.

A newly-launched heritage guide, called The Eight in the East, which gives details of Second World War sites connected with the 8th USAAF across the East of England people can visit, has been launched at http://www.8theast.org/new-herit age-guide-launched/

The US and UK service personnel stationed near Lavenham during the Second World War have long departed but their names remain inscribed on the walls of the Old Bar in The Swan, which they frequented.

Renamed the Airmen’s Bar, it’s full of memorabilia and photographs of them alongside their autographs. With many signatures fading, the Stour Valley Community Archaeology Group are working to record and discover more about the individuals who wrote them before the signatures disappear.

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