• Donnington Grove

Peppered in history

Roger Day, Historian introduces a unique tour…


‘I was born in Marlborough, Wiltshire, but I spent my formative years in the village of Ramsbury, which with nearby Aldbourne, was central to the American Forces efforts in England during WW2’

In later years the area became synonymous with the TV series Band of Brothers which depicted the legendary Airborne Units stationed in this part of Wiltshire

In fact, this area of north-east Wiltshire is peppered with old disused WW2 camps. ‘From a young age I wanted to know what they were used for’ said Roger, ‘I wanted to find out which units were based there and how they all fitted into the grand scheme of things. Thus, began my interest in wartime history and after extensive research the written material I produced was accepted by a publisher’

One of Rogers books specifically presents the history of the Ramsbury and Marlborough area during WW1. The other titles though present different aspects of the region during WW2 including for example, the vitally important airfields at Ramsbury and Membury, the Savernake ammunition storage depot, the Marlborough Home Guard, and the United States 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR).

On Saturday 8th September 2018 a vintage bus will make two runs to Littlecote House and Membury departing from Newbury Clock Tower at 09:30 hours and 14:00 hours. Back to Roger ‘Our first stop will be Littlecote House where our party will spend one hour viewing the Kennet Valley at War Trust’s WW2 museum, and time exploring and learning about other aspects of Littlecote’s wartime past.

This will include a look at the Aldbourne stable, which once served as a billet for paratroopers from E Company 506th PIR, the famous ‘Band of Brothers’. The House was for a while the base for what became known as the ‘Filthy Thirteen’ later to be loosely used as the basis for the film ‘Dirty Dozen’

After leaving Littlecote the vintage bus we make the short journey to Membury airfield. ‘Here we will be able to inspect the remains of a US WW2 WACO glider crate. This item is in remarkably good condition for its age and is, as far as we can tell, the most complete surviving example in Britain, possibly the world! Incidentally after the gliders were removed from the crates, the servicemen turned them into makeshift, but nonetheless comfortable billets. I have allowed one hour at Membury and providing we have time I plan to show the party the remains of Membury’s main runway’ added Roger.

The vintage bus tour is part of Their Legacy, Our History a weekend family event hosted by Visit Newbury on the 8 and 9 September 2018. It presents aspects of life on the home front during WW2 though Talks, Exhibitions, Displays. Fashion, Cookery, Music and Dance