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Chedburgh’s fete marks year the RAF arrived




A 1937 Wolsley 14/56 arrives at Chedburgh's Summer of '42 Revisited Fete flying an RAF pennant with the driver in uniform''Pictures: Mecha Morton
A 1937 Wolsley 14/56 arrives at Chedburgh's Summer of '42 Revisited Fete flying an RAF pennant with the driver in uniform''Pictures: Mecha Morton

Chedburgh’s village fete went beyond the usual stalls as it revisited the summer of 1942, when the first bomber squadrons arrived at the nearby airfield bearing its name.

Mike Chester, parish council chairman and fete committee members, explained: “We started the fete preparations in February and when we were looking for a theme, as it is the 75th anniversary of the airfield it seemed fitting.”

A WW2 Austin K2 ambulance and line of Jeeps.
A WW2 Austin K2 ambulance and line of Jeeps.

So the committee got together a fine collection of vehicles from the period, including an 1940s 30-seater bus to take people on tours of the former RAF Chedburgh, which straddles the A143.

They also had plenty of people dressed in wartime roles, ranging from Land Army girls to dashing RAF pilots, and St Edmundsbury’s Mayor Terry Clements arrived to open the fete in a 1923 Chevrolet Superior-K four-seater.

But Saturday’s event also recognised the sad side to the village’s connection with the RAF in the 1940s. Cllr Clements laid a wreath at the war memorial and, after opening the fete, led a minute’s silence for the 398 RAF Chedburgh airman who died.

Between 1942 and 1946, the airfield was home to 214 and 620 Squadrons with Stirlings, the 1653 Heavy Conversion Unit training pilots on four-engined bombers, 218 Sqn in Lancasters and Polish 301 and 304 Sqns after the war.

An enthusiast with a WW2 Morris army truck
An enthusiast with a WW2 Morris army truck

More pictures in Friday’s Bury Free Press.

Last Tuesday the grave of an airman from RAF Chedburgh’s 620Sqn was rededicated with a headstone bearing his name 74 years after he was shot down.

Mayor of St Edmundsbury Terry Clements'' opened the fete then led a minute silence in memory of the 398 RAF Chedburgh airmen who died
Mayor of St Edmundsbury Terry Clements'' opened the fete then led a minute silence in memory of the 398 RAF Chedburgh airmen who died
A crewman on a 1939 Dennis New World fire engine which served in needham Market through the war
A crewman on a 1939 Dennis New World fire engine which served in needham Market through the war
A Jeep driver in American USAAF uniform
A Jeep driver in American USAAF uniform
Collage sang songs of the 1940s
Collage sang songs of the 1940s
Jenny Smith and Carole Jarman dressed as Land Army girls
Jenny Smith and Carole Jarman dressed as Land Army girls


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