A Yank Remembers
Just a little story from a Yank that lived amongst the friendly folks of the Methwold area many moons ago. It was summer 1959, my brother Mike and I had set out to explore the area around our new home in Brookville. Our Dad was a sergeant in the USAF and stationed at RAF Lakenheath. Dad had rented a home for our family in the middle of an apple orchard in Brookville. Our landlady was a nice elderly lady called Mrs Gladstone.
Anyway, back to our exploration. Mike was about 12 at the time and I was 7. Mike had heard about a former RAF airfield nearby so we headed out in search of it. I remember slipping through a barbed wire fence and crossing a field where we came upon the decaying flight line of an airfield. The airfield had long been abandoned but there were still buildings, hangars, pillboxes and the like. We went into a two-storey structure that looked like it might have been an Officers’ Club or something back in the day. There were murals on the wall, paintings of RAF bombers dropping a bomb on Hitler himself. I remember the roof was partially collapsed. I surmised it was due to Luftwaffe bombers but it was more likely just neglect. There was some kind of flight line control tower still there, and I recall there were still notebooks scattered around with what appeared to be rosters of the day.
We made our way into one of the pillboxes along the flight line. It still had a carriage for something like a .50 calibre machine gun and we spent some time imagining we were taking aim at German bombers.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, paratroopers started hitting the ground all over the field. I think they were Royal Marines on a training exercise. They quickly captured us and took us to their commander who promptly told us we would be shot as spy’s. I knew he was joking, but I was still terrified. They had a little fun with us and then sent us on our way. Good times nearly 60 years ago. Even at a young age I appreciated the folks of Methwold and Brookville who treated our family so well. Before I croak, I would like to get back to the area to visit a place I so fondly remember. As for me, I spent 30 years as a firefighter for the Orlando, Florida Fire Department retiring as a District Chief in 2004.