Friday, 13 February 2015

New material added to WW2 American Air Museum website

From the Imperial War Museum at Duxford:

New historic material added to the American Air Museum website

Unseen personal snapshots and aerial photographs from the Second World War extend this remarkable digital resource

In October 2014, IWM Duxford launched a new crowd-sourcing website for the American Air Museum. The website is a digital record of the memories and stories of the men and women of the US Army Air Forces (USAAF) who found themselves serving their country from somewhere in England during the Second World War. It also records the memories of the British people who met and befriended them.

The American Air Museum website has been made possible through the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, which awarded a grant of £980,000 to IWM Duxford, in December 2013, towards the redevelopment of the museum and the creation of the website.

Since we launched it, over 45,000 people have visited the website, from across the United Kingdom, United States and beyond. We have lots of regular users who are contributing their stories and photographs including key individuals who have made nearly 2,000 additions to the site.

We’ve now added fascinating new material to the American Air Museum website which makes it a bigger and more comprehensive historic resource.

English Heritage has donated over 700 aerial photographs of wartime airfields in use, or under construction, across the United Kingdom between 1940 and 1947. Many of these images have not been seen by the public before.

Mike Evans, Head of Archive at the English Heritage Archive said: “The aerial photographs in the care of the English Heritage Archive are a unique picture of the English landscape at a time when the pressures of war changed it out of all recognition. I am delighted that we have been able to contribute some of these images to the American Air Museum website, and so add another layer of information to the rich collections of photographs and memories which are already on the site."

These photographs show the pace at which the English landscape was changed by the war and by the arrival of the United States Army Air Forces. There are fascinating details in the images. In a number of the photographs of Duxford’s airfield, you can clearly see the baseball pitch, which has been demarcated by the running boots of servicemen, in the field behind the accommodation blocks.

You can browse all of the English Heritage aerial photographs on the American Air Museum website with the following search -

The American Air Museum website launched with 5,000 images from the Roger Freeman Collection. Roger Freeman (1928-2005) was a hugely respected aviation historian and native of East Anglia.

We are delighted to announce that a further 5,000 images from Roger’s collection have been added to the digital collection on the American Air Museum website. Many of these images have not, up to now, been publically available.

The photographs show the variety of experiences of serving members of the United States Army Air Forces in Britain during the Second World War. Images depict the different roles undertaken by members of USAAF and also the aircraft, combat missions and events , alongside the off-duty leisure time and local communities.

As a result of user feedback, we’ve also added a series of new features to the website, including the ability to see a timeline of edits and additions you’ve made to the website. You’ll also be able to see what other users have edited by clicking on their activity tab. We’ve made changes to our map function, including markers for aircraft crash sites and cemeteries. It is now easier to see if a person is buried or commemorated at an existing cemetery, as we’ve cross-referenced our entries for the burials of airmen with the American Battle Monuments Commission cemetery at which they are remembered.

Jenny Cousins, Project Leader, American Air Museum said: “The photographs that the museum has in its collection only have meaning if we know and understand what they depict. 70 years on from the Second World War, there are still people alive who lived through it and have strong, formative memories of it. We have a last opportunity to capture these stories, to record their testimony and to retain it for future generations. We’d love to see some people who worked in aircraft factories or building the airfields adding themselves to our database. Everyone’s experience of war is important to us. We’re touched by the public response we’ve had to making this collection freely available online. People have really got behind the spirit of what we are trying to do – reveal the extraordinary lives of ordinary people.”

Discover the American Air Museum website at

See our film clip of personal stories here

(With thanks to Esther Blaine)


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