Eighth in the East Project

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Community Day Success!

The first community event for the Eighth in the East project held on Saturday 22nd February was a resounding success! Shipdham W.I. hall opened its doors to over 200 people who came to find out more about this fantastic Heritage Lottery Fund project. 

People of all ages sat down with tea and cakes (made by Annie, project learning officer) to watch Second World War footage from the East Anglian Film Archive's mobile unit. A particular highlight was a 1944 children's Christmas party.

The 2nd Air Division Memorial Library kindly allowed some of their collection to be put on display at the event including this wonderful flying helmet, a silk map, and a selection of USAAF badges.

Some lucky people even got to try on these original uniform jackets!

The display of wartime photographs and entries to the V mail competition produced by students from Thomas Bullock Primary School was very popular, and the community archaeology sign-up area was so busy that Hannah had difficulty getting back to her stand.

Visitors also found out more about Shipdham airfield, and were shown examples of the Second World War buildings already recorded on the Norfolk Historic Environment Record.

The Historic Environment Service archaeology sandpit and stratigraphy bin also made an appearance, fascinating adults and children alike with artefacts found in Norfolk created up to 12000 years ago!


Visitors got into the spirit of the event, many of them dressing up in their own American Air Force clothes, someone even brought along this jeep!

To find out more about the project, and to get involved visit www.8theast.org

Norfolk Historic Environment Service is a partner in a Heritage Lottery Funded Project investigating the impact of the arrival of the 8th American Air Force across the east of England in World War II.

Nearly 70 airfields, with between 3,000 and 4,000 people living on each, were built from Northamptonshire to the North Sea coast in a matter of months after America entered the war in December 1941.
View from the control tower at Parham museum
The project wants to learn more about the impact their arrival had on the local population and work on ways of preserving and recording these fast disappearing memories and experiences for future generations.

Signatures of American servicemen scrawled on the bar of the Swann Inn at Lavenham 
Eighth in the East has received £575,000 of Heritage Lottery Fund money to work with volunteers of all ages, aiming to lead a three year project involving aspects of archaeology, oral history, museum development, and community events.

Dancers at the project launch, Horham
The project is a cross-regional partnership led by New Heritage Solutions, a social enterprise company based in Suffolk, and will involve museums from across the East of England, the Norfolk Record Office, the University of East Anglia, and the Second Air Division Memorial Library.
Dancers at the project launch, Horham
Community archaeologist for Eighth in the East, Hannah Potter, will be based at the Norfolk Historic Environment Service for the first year of the project, and will be working with our community engagement team to provide some exciting volunteering opportunities in the near future.

8th East Launch Film from David Cain on Vimeo.

For more information and to find out how to get involved have a look at the website, or follow the Facebook and Twitter feeds.


 Thanks to project manager David Cain for providing the photographs.



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