Senior US military officers to attend Saltby Airfield D-Day event

American 82nd Airborne Division troops preparing to fly from Saltby Airfield to Normandy for the D-Day landings in June 1944American 82nd Airborne Division troops preparing to fly from Saltby Airfield to Normandy for the D-Day landings in June 1944
American 82nd Airborne Division troops preparing to fly from Saltby Airfield to Normandy for the D-Day landings in June 1944
Senior officers in the United States military will be attending an event at Saltby Airfield next month to commemorate the 80th anniversary of its role in the D-Day landings during the Second World War.

RAF Saltby, as it was known during the war, was home to America’s 9th Troop Carrier Command during 1944, flying paratroopers of the US 82nd Airborne Division to Normandy as part of the pivotal Allied invasion of Europe by sea and air.

Ceremonies and talks will be held at the airfield on Sunday June 8 at an event organised by South Kesteven District Council (SKDC), Saltby Airfield History Group and the Buckminster Gliding Club.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It runs from 10.30am to 3pm and includes a service of commemoration, military re-enactors, an Army field kitchen and talks in the gliding clubhouse.

Among those present will be the commander of the United States 314th Airlift Wing from Little Rock, Arkansas - the modern day equivalent of the air force personnel who were there during the war.

The 314ths continue to have a strong link to the community – it gifted £3,000 to help restore the bells at Saltby Church.

Councillor Richard Dixon-Warren, SKDC’s armed forces champion said: “RAF Saltby played a critical role in the invasion of Europe and we are delighted to help tell the story of the American contribution that helped turn the tide of war.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Buckminster Gliding Club’s chairman, John Elkington, added: “We are extremely proud of the heritage here at the airfield.

"We have a permanent memorial to allied forces and this event is an opportunity to honour the American troops and aircraft that flew from here on June 6 1944.”

Author and Troop Carrier Command world authority, Lt Col Mark Vlahos, will be giving an illustrated talk about the RAF Saltby 314th Troop Carrier Group and offering to sign any of his books for visitors who have previously bought copies.

He will be portraying Colonel Clayton Stiles, the Commander of the 314th as if he was visiting for the first time since the war ended.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Another talk – by heritage specialist Brian Riley and titled Airborne Forces of Britain, the United States and Poland - focuses on the unique alliance and presence locally of Allied airborne forces from the United States, Britain and Poland that helped change the course of the war

Darren Bond’s talk, on America’s 82nd Airborne Division, will reveal the division’s history and its association with RAF Saltby and includes a demonstration of battle kit worn by both American and British airborne soldiers.

The Allied invasion began shortly after midnight on the morning of June 6, 1944, with the landing of 24,000 American, British, and Canadian airborne troops backed up by thousands of troops arriving on the beaches of Normandy via sea.

Saltby Airfield was also used to fly paratroopers billeted in the Melton area into the Battle of Arnhem three months later.

The Saltby Airfield event on June 8 is free to attend but tickets for the airfield access and talks must be booked separately.

Click HERE to book these tickets.