- The Kennet Valley at War Trust -
The trust's aim is to educate and inform people about the history of the Kennet Valley during the Second World War.
On January 28th 2007 the Kennet Valley at War Trust opened a small museum at Littlecote House near Hungerford, Berkshire. During the Second World War Littlecote was used as regimental headquarters by the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the US 101st Airborne Division. Company 'E' of this regiment became famous following the publication of the book 'Band of Brothers' by Stephen Ambrose. Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks then turned the book into a major TV series of the same name. The museum features period WWII artefacts such as helmets, badges and equipment, plus original 'Band of Brothers' film props.
A stable from the nearby village of Aldbourne, which was used as a billet by men from 'E' Company, is the second element of the trust's museum and, following extensive renovation by Hartwood Oak Buildings, has been re-erected near the old house. A larger stable complex from the same Aldbourne site was shipped to America in 2005 and is now a major exhibit at the Steven's County Historical Society's Museum in Toccoa, Georgia.
Below are a number of photographs taken during the museum's official opening on Sunday 28th January 2007. (Photographs by Chris Day).
Above left: Deborah Sheppard from Warner Breaks introduces the Kennet Valley at War Trust team to invited guests. Above right: Ira Clyde Grube, a veteran from the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment of the US 101st Airborne Division, declares the new museum open.
left: Two wartime Jeeps by the main entrance
to Littlecote House.
Above right: Ira Clyde Grube inside the museum with The Kennet Valley at War Trust team.
WWII artefacts help explain the Kennet Valley's role in WW2.
Above centre: Visitors to the museum's opening ceremony gather in Littlecote's Great Hall.
Above right: The entrance to the museum reached via the haunted landing.
left: The Kennet Valley at War Trust team
standing outside the stable. From left to right; Roger Day, Tim Green and Sam
McCallum. Above centre:
The team gather Inside the stable together with Ira Clyde Grube and re-enactor
Above right: Jeeps at Littlecote - a scene reminiscent of its wartime past.
Littlecote at War
On consecutive weekends during the spring of 2008 Littlecote played host to a couple of military events. The first was called 'Littlecote at War' and re-enactors came from all over the country to show how the house and park would have looked during the period the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment were in residence. One week later and a convoy of military vehicles set off from nearby Ramsbury as part of the 'Route to Victory' weekend (a major event held in the village) and stopped at littlecote for more than two hours. The following photographs show some of the action that took place over both weekends.
The Aldbourne stable as it may have look when it was used by the 506th PIR during
Below: 506th PIR re-enactors preparing for 'battle'.
Route to Victory
Above and below: The convoy arrives at Littlecote.
Above and below: Following a guided tour of Littlecote and a short lunch break the convoy moved off through woodland towards Ramsbury airfield.
left: A Jeep in 437th TCG markings poses on the edge of what remains
of Ramsbury's main runway.
Above right: The convoy heads off towards Savernake Forest. During WWII the forest was one of Britain's largest ammunition dumps.