D-Day Walk

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Twyford Wood Car park near Colsterworth

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Aviation heritage enthusiasts can join our third and final 2019 walk at Twyford Wood near Colsterworth, launch pad for a top secret American mission on the eve of D-Day.

Seventy five years on, aviation heritage expert Brian Riley will tell a largely forgotten story of how the former wartime airfield at 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 of lX Troop Carrier Command Pathfinder School took off carrying elite American Pathfinder troops, skimming the channel at 50ft to fly under enemy radar on their way to Normandy.

The Pathfinders spent months training behind armed security for the mission - to position Eureka radio signalling beacons and visual markers behind enemy lines. Learn about their training, equipment and their leaders - pilot Lt Col Joel Crouch and paratrooper Lt Frank Lillyman.

Within the hour, the airborne invasion of Normandy was in full swing, with hundreds more C-47s of Troop Carrier Command taking off from Barkston Heath, Folkingham, Saltby, Fulbeck, Cottesmore and Spanhoe, laden with troops, and joined by more aircraft flying from bases in Southern England.

On the 5 June walk, 75 years to the day and even the hour, 20 poppy crosses donated by Aviation Heritage Lincolnshire were planted at the side of the runway – one for every aircraft that took off.

The walk, organised by the visitor economy team at InvestSK, South Kesteven District Council’s growth and regeneration company, lasts around two and a half hours. It starts at 2.30pm from the main Twyford Wood car park, off the A151 Colsterworth to Bourne Road.

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