At The Swan, In Lavenham
The Vintage Weekend
19th – 22nd May 2017
In May 2017, Lavenham will host a wonderful weekend celebrating all things 1940s. The 487th Bombardment Group, 8th US Army Air Force were stationed at nearby Lavenham Airfield (Station 137) during WW2. The Swan at Lavenham has been instrumental in encouraging and supporting the formation of a local committee entitled ‘Friends of Lavenham Airfield’, who are dedicated to keeping the memory of the 487th BG, 8th USAAF alive in Lavenham. The committee, together with vintage events group, The Baker Boy Collective, have organised a series of 1940s events across the village to commemorate the 75th anniversary of US Forces starting to arrive in the East of England in support of WW2, known as ‘The Friendly Invasion’.
Over 19th – 22nd May 2017 many events will take place in Lavenham, including:
• A 1940s swing dance
• Vintage afternoon tea
• Airfield Guided Tour
• A history talk about the 487th Bombardment Group, 8th USAAF (United States Army Air Force)
Click here for the full vintage weekend events calendar.
The 487th Bombardment Group who were based at nearby Lavenham Airfield during WW2, frequented the Airmen’s Bar at The Swan, during that time. There will be a walk to Lavenham airfield and a commemorative service in the church, while you can expect to see 1940s vehicles and vintage fashions worn around the village by The Baker Boy Collective group, together with 1940s re-enactors. And on Sunday 21st May Lavenham will be teaming up with the Vintage Affair at Hedingham Castle, a short and picturesque drive away in nearby Essex.
Vintage events will continue to be held annually in Lavenham during May leading up to the 75th anniversary of VE Day on 8th May 2020.
Between 18th and 21st May 2018 Lavenham will mark the creation of Lavenham Airfield, while between 17th and 20th May 2019 the commencement of operational flights by the 487th Bombardment Group will be remembered. And everything will culminate in a celebration and commemoration of the 75th anniversary of VE Day on 8th May 2020, with events taking place from 8th – 11th May 2020.
The vintage events will help support SSAFA – The Armed Forces Charity and Lavenham Community Council, which is raising funds to construct a new pre-school building. If you’d like to get involved, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyone making the trip across to the UK for these events may also be interested in a newly launched Heritage Guide. The guide will enable people to visit many of the wonderful World War II heritage sites connected with the 8th USAAF across the East of England.
The US Army Air Force and UK service personnel stationed near Lavenham during World War II have long departed but their names remain inscribed on the walls of the Old Bar in The Swan, which they frequented. Renamed the Airmen’s Bar, it’s full of their memorabilia and photographs alongside the autographs as well as the names of the servicemen who took up the challenge of downing 3.5 pints of ale from a glass boot and how long it took them; the record seems to be an amazing 40 seconds held by WH Culling!
With many signatures fading, the Eighth in the East are working in partnership with the Stour Valley Community Archaeology Group to record and discover more about the individuals who wrote them before they disappear with time. Read about the ‘Signatures Project’ here.
Book a Stay
One of the top hotels in Suffolk, book your stay at The Swan Hotel & Spa and enjoy the vintage weekend in style. You can book online, or contact our team:
T: 01787 247477