Wartime aviation nostalgia will take over St Peter’s Green and Grantham Museum on Saturday, May 24, with a special D-Day Commemoration event.
Tribute singers and musicians, a field kitchen serving food of the era, stalls and Second World War vehicles will recreate the atmosphere of 70 years ago when American troops were on the streets of Grantham in the build up to the D-Day invasion.
A highlight of the day will be a flyover at 2.30pm of the Battle of Britain Flight’s legendary Spitfire and the Dakota C-47, the workhorse aircraft flying paratroopers behind enemy lines.
Grantham Museum’s new exhibition ‘D-Day and Grantham’ opens that day, with a talk on D-Day Airfields of South Lincolnshire by aviation expert Bill Taylor.
Event organiser South Kesteven District Council is then launching its new Heritage of Flight publication tracing the role of local airfields, notably their part in some of the major exercises of the Second World War, including the Dambusters Raid, D-Day, Arnhem and Operation Glimmer.
It has also re-printed a limited edition of a 1992 brochure first printed by the Grantham Journal, entitled ‘Overpaid, Oversexed and Over Here’, a tribute to the US wartime forces.
Oldershaws Brewery will also be launching a new commemorative cask beer, called ‘Miss Red’ after a particular Dakota aircraft whose nose cone was painted with a saucy image.
To conclude the day, the Guildhall Arts Centre has a special showing of the 1962 film epic ‘The Longest Day’, the star-studded story of the D-Day invasion of Normandy with John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, Sean Connery, Richard Burton and Grantham’s much-loved Richard Todd.
SKDC’s Heritage of Flight booklet will be backed by a new pocket guide trail map to help visitors explore the district’s aviation heritage.
SKDC’s head of community and assets said: “We have an incredibly rich aviation heritage. It’s humbling to think that Grantham was the operations HQ for not only the Dambusters Raid but also the American-controlled D-Day airborne offensive with international troops flying from our airfields.
“Our publications fill in a missing gap in the county’s aviation heritage. They will help people discover the flying history on our doorstep, appreciate what a huge role the district played and the massive debt we owe to service personnel from across the globe who served here.”
** The day’s agenda:
St Peter’s Green Commemoration event, 10am-4pm
Grantham Museum opening, 10am-4pm
D-Day Airfields of South Lincolnshire, 10.30am (£2 – tickets from Grantham Museum)
Dakota and Spitfire Flypast, 2.30pm
The Longest Day, 4pm (£5/£4 concession – tickets from the Guildhall Arts Centre)