Posted: 09.09.19 at 15:50 by The Editor
Aviation heritage enthusiasts can join a third and final D-Day walk at Twyford Wood, near Colsterworth, later this month.
Seventy-five years on, aviation heritage expert Brian Riley will tell a largely forgotten story of how the South Kesteven airfield was the launch pad for a top-secret American pre-invasion strike on the eve of D-Day.
He will be joined by Adam Berry, co-author of A Breathtaking Spectacle, a detailed history of American lX Troop Carrier Command occupation of the major airfields surrounding Grantham in 1944.
The walk, on Sunday, 29 October and organised by InvestSK, South Kesteven District Council’s economic growth and regeneration company, tells an important story says Andrew Norman, InvestSK Head of Visitor Economy.
“We have an aviation heritage gem at RAF North Witham, and our walks have proved extremely popular.
"In June, we hosted the last surviving American pilot from the mission Lt Col Dave Hamilton and he unveiled an information board with details of what happened.
"It’s an incredible piece of aviation history.”
The huge former wartime airfield at the former RAF North Witham - Station 479 of the United States Army Air Force (USAAF) - played a key role in the invasion of occupied Europe.
At precisely 21.54 on 5 June 1944 the first of 20 Douglas C-47 Skytrain aircraft took off carrying elite American Pathfinder troops, skimming the channel at 50ft to fly under enemy radar on their way to Normandy.
Paratroopers had spent months training behind armed security for the mission - to position Eureka radio signalling beacons and visual markers behind enemy lines.
Within the hour the invasion of Normandy was in full swing.
Walkers joining the event will hear how Pathfinder paratroops were lured into applying for a mission with no promise of a safe return, and the story of Captain Frank Lillyman - the first man to jump - who earned a national citation for valour.
The walk, lasting around two-and-a-half hours, starts at 2.30pm from the main Twyford Wood car park, off the A151 Colsterworth to Bourne Road.
Book online for the free walk by clicking the red button below.