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Tribute to Stansted's wartime origins unveiled

July 14, 2009

 

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Wartime heroes gather for the unveiling of Stansted commemorative plaques

Four Second World War veterans were guests of honour at the official unveiling of a commemorative display to celebrate Stansted Airport's origins as a wartime airfield.

The four US soldiers - Buck Compton, Donald Malarkey, Ed Tipper and Bradford Freeman - were part of the legendary 'Band of Brothers', depicted in the Steven Spielberg television series of the same name. They joined UK military personnel at the unveiling of two commemorative plaques, located in the main check-in area of the terminal building.

Stewart Wingate, managing director of Stansted Airport, said: "Stansted is very proud of its long and illustrious past, and the critical role the airfield played during World War Two as a US Army Air Force base.

"It's a real honour for us to be joined by so many brave and distinguished service personnel, past and present, from here in the UK and from the States. I would like to thank each and every one of them for being with us as we pay tribute to the historic development of Stansted and acknowledge those early efforts that have ultimately culminated in the Stansted Airport we see today."

Neale Jouques OBE, Stansted's terminal general manager and former army officer, was also present to pay tribute: "With this legendary group of American heroes in the UK, and Stansted beginning life as a US Army Air Force base during the war, the opportunity to have them officially unveil this display was too good to miss. And it's very poignant that the new home for these tributes that recognise Stansted's wartime role should receive the blessing of real heroes involved in the conflict.

"These guys were on the ground in Normandy on D-Day, and overhead flew the aircraft of 344th Bomb Group which had taken off from the airfield here at Stansted.

"I'm also delighted that members of my own former Regiment and modern British airborne forces joined us to honour these men and illustrate that the close bond between the UK and US is still present today."

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