RAF Snailwell opened in 1941 and although it had hangars and other buildings, very little of it remains today – most of the land is now used by the Newmarket horseracing industry. RAF Snailwell was home to US Eighth Air Force fighters and then between 1942 and 44, No 309 (Polish) Squadron which flew as part of the RAF. The grave of one of these Polish airmen, Flying Officer Rajewski, can be seen in Newmarket Cemetery. In mid-1945 the airfield became the RAF (Belgian) Initial Training School bringing another nationality to the area. Training continued into early 1946 when the Belgian forces were by then able to conduct their training back on home soil.
During the summer of 1943, an existing Royal Air Force airfield at Bottisham was enlarged in preparation for the arrival of the United States Army Air Force. Then, on the 3rd of January 1944, RAF Bottisham was officially handed over to the Americans. The Americans were only there for nine months but made quite an impact on the local community, including local young ladies, a number of whom became ‘GI brides’.
- Gallery -