Role of Easton Lodge in world wars will be explored at special open day event
- Credit: Archant
A month before D-Day, in April 1944, American general Dwight D. Eisenhower visited Little Easton.
Eisenhower, who was then the supreme allied commander in Europe and would later become president of the United States travelled to the village to see a US Army Air Force bomb group which was based at Easton Lodge, which had been requisitioned for the war.
After Eisenhower's visit, the US Army Air Force 386th Bomb Group was selected to drop the final wave of bombs before the Normandy landings.
The American pilots flew four missions on June 6, before the allied troops landed.
The role of Easton Lodge in the first and second world wars will be explored and explained at an open day at the Gardens of Easton Lodge on July 21.
Before the First World War, Frances Evelyn "Daisy" Greville, the Countess of Warwick and owner of Easton Lodge, worried that war would set back social reform. However, she and her husband, Francis Greville, the Earl of Warwick, hosted training camps for the Essex Yeomanry. The estate was then briefly taken over by the military authorities in 1914 and the couple hosted peace celebrations for surrounding villages on Peace Day, July 19, 1919.
Some 10,000 trees were felled when Easton Lodge was requisitioned at the start of the Second World War, to make way for the Great Dunmow airfield.
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During the open day, visitors can learn about the contribution made by staff at Easton Lodge during the wars and inspect military vehicles, memorabilia and period motorcars. There will also be displays about Nuthampstead Airfield, the Eighth Air Force and the Heritage RAF Association. The Royal British Legion will be attending and wartime songs will be performed by Perfect Vintage.
A spokesman for the Gardens of Eastons Lodge Preservation Trust said: "Visitors will enjoy the water lilies and dragonflies in the pond in the historic Italian garden. The trust's volunteers have tended a huge range of fruit and vegetables in the walled kitchen garden and some produce will be on sale. Children can visit the treehouse, play croquet or other games and enjoy craft activities."
The gardens will be open from 11.30am to 5pm. Entrance fee is £4.50 for adults and free entry for children under 16.