Long lost American airbases from World War Two and memorabilia from the high days of Glenn Miller whilst he was serving in the UK can be found in many unlikely places hidden in the villages north of Bedford. The mysterious disappearance of the famous musician lives on, as does the memory of many US servicemen who came over the ‘pond’ to fight and give their lives for our freedom. Long may we remember them.
Taking the A6 out of Bedford, at Milton Ernest turn right along Thurleigh Road until you see a sign to Thurleigh
Business Park, an obvious airfield site adjacent to RAF Bedford. At the park gates, which a man will open for you on request, follow the signs to the 306th Bombardment Group Museum. Here you will be delighted to find a plethora of memorabilia, photos, maps and information accounting for the 306th, and you may be fortunate enough to meet some of the volunteers who keep this museum alive. If you get in conversation they may be delighted to share stories with you of their journeys to America for the annual reunion of the 306th. A fascinating elderly couple!
Last time I visited they revealed, ‘Tom Cruise arrived here at Thurleigh in a helicopter the other day!’
After spending an hour or two it is a pleasant place for a cup of coffee – otherwise make your way back to Milton Ernest where The Queen’s head Hotel will give you a warm welcome, coffee, drink and a good wholesome menu. To add to this charming pub’s appeal, there are pictures and posters all over the walls about Glenn Miller and his time at the airbase in Bedfordshire.
Once refreshed, if you head back along the A6, taking a left turn towards Clapham. About half way along the main street you will see a sign for Twinwoods. Don’t be put off by the odd concrete road. After about a mile you should see a sign to your right which takes you to the Twinwoods Airbase which has now been turned into a museum.) Only open from Spring to Autumn so check their website.
Here you can wander inside various buildings which give the unnerving impression that the serving airmen have just
upped and left moments before you arrived, especially in the watch tower, where Glenn Miller music plays eerily in the background and you browse over his posters of concerts in Bedford. The visit is completed with a cup of tea at The Officer Mess back downstairs.
I gather that the Twinwoods festival is almost fully booked before each year’s show is finished, but if you are lucky enough to attend you can dress up in period costume, sing, enjoy music and dance ~ embracing an era long gone in memory of Glenn Miller who lives on through his music.
Click on his photo on the right and you will have a link to ‘In the Mood’ and you can enjoy one of his most famous and well known swing sounds to get you in the mood!
(and yes, Twinwoods festival does feature in my murder mystery ‘Murder, Now and Then’!)