Cat no. 40

If There Are Ghosts They Should Be Here

Running time29:43 Colour Sound 1976 East Anglia

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The history and current uses of Airfields in East Anglia



The film is introduced by a former American Airman who served at Bassingbourn during World War II. After a general introduction, concerning the number and layout of the airfields, the film recounts some of the memories of the men who served on them and gives an idea of what has happened to them since. Some films are featured that was shot by the servicemen at the time. One of these films shows the USAAF base at Rackheath, near Norwich. The bombs are shown piled up ready to load, as well as the aircraft taking off and the airmen about their daily tasks.

The next sequence concerns the airmen based at Bassingbourn, near Cambridge. There is film of bombers and fighters as well as an aerial shot of Wimpole Hall, south of Cambridge, used by the pilots as a navigational aid. Film taken by the servicemen shows damage sustained by aircraft that had still managed to fly back to base. The wounded are shown being taken off the planes and away by ambulance. There are also scenes of a fire where a plane exploded on landing. The Memphis Belle is filmed returning from a successful mission. This is mixed with modern film of a memorial ceremony at the American Cemetery at Madingley.

The next sequence is of an airfield being demolished. People are shown wandering around the dilapidated buildings where the wall paintings of the US servicemen from 1942 can still be seen. A local farmer, David Alston, recalls his family farm near Lavenham being requisitioned by the RAF. The film goes on to show how Mr. Alston using the remains of the airfield for agricultural purposes. There is footage of actor James Stewart returning to Tibenham Airfield where he was Commanding Officer of the 703rd Bombardment Squadron in 1944, and an airman walking around the ruins of Snoring airfield. The film ends recalling the diverse uses to which these airfields are now put.

Background Information:

Lloyd Hobson
Alan Howard

Featured People:

David Alston, farmer; James Stewart, actor and Squadron Commander, 1942 - 1945

Featured Organisations:

RAF; USAAF; British Army; Construction Industry Training Board; Suffolk Constabulary; Post Office

Featured Buildings:

American Cemetery, Madingley ; Wimpole Hall, Cambridge

Bill Scroggie; Richard King

BBC East

Roger Freeman (writer)

Ian Emerson; Stephen Ruffle (Little Snoring Remembered); Ian Brown

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