Start Date: 01/12/2016 End Date: 01/08/2017
Capturing memories of war
During the second world war, Dunkeswell Airfield was the only US naval air base on British soil. Our Dunkeswell War Stories project set about telling the story of Dunkeswell during this period of its history, and created a series of school resources.
Through first-hand accounts, Dunkeswell War Stories revealed the impact of war on the lives of local people and the young men who travelled from far away to support the war effort.
Dunkeswell Airfield was built in 1943 on farmland close to the Blackdown Hills village of the same name. Before long, American accents began to mingle with the gentle Devon burr. Liberator planes could be heard overhead, lorries were careering along country lanes and Saturday night dances became a little more exotic!
First-hand video accounts
A series of short films were made, featuring interviews with 26 residents and four American veterans, combined with animation, photographs, music and 1940s-inspired artwork.
Some interviews focused on the friendships between American servicemen and local people, and how the air base changed village life. Others looked at the memories of evacuees, how farming changed, dances and boxing matches on the air base, anti-submarine missions and many other aspects of life at Dunkeswell.
Dunkeswell War Stories full video
The Aircraft – Dunkeswell War Stories video interviews
The Traffic – Dunkeswell War Stories video interviews
Resources for schools
As part of the Dunkeswell War Stories project, the team worked with the children of Broadhembury Primary School to introduce the important role played by Dunkeswell during the second world war and to give children a first-hand look at documentary film-making.
Here are the lesson plans and printable resources relating to this project, suitable for children at Key Stage 2 (KS2) and beyond.
Dunkeswell War Stories was developed by the Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Additional funding came from Devon County Council, Dunkeswell Parish Council, Councillor Paul Diviani, and the Blackdown Hills AONB Partnership itself.
The project ran from 2012 to 2013.