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Princess Elizabeth visited Witchford Airfield with the King and Queen in July 1944

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Royal visitors to Witchford in 1944

The future Queen accompanied her father and mother, the King and Queen on a visit to Witchford Airfield on 5th July 1944.

The Royal Party arrived by train at Ely Station under conditions of strict secrecy.

It was a big thrill for a number of Ely High School girls who were standing outside the swimming pool as a Rolls Royce arrived from the direction of the station and the girls recognised its occupants.

Princess Elizabeth was sitting in front and delighted the girls by turning to smile and wave to them. She looked fresh and charming in pale blue and the King was in Royal Air Force uniform. As their car drove through Ely the occupants were recognised by many people in the streets.

Because of security the villagers of Witchford knew nothing of the visit until three quarters of an hour beforehand.

Royal visit to Witchford in 1944

The school was notified and asked if the children could line up on each side of the main entrance to the aerodrome. The Royal Family spent some time talking to the villagers before entering the airfield, where they were escorted around the RAF personnel on parade

Aircrew who were shortly to take off on a daylight raid were photographed with the Royal visitor. The tour of the airfield continued with visits to various sections and they watched the squadron take off on a daylight raid. The King inspected the bomb bay of a Lancaster to see how the loading of the bombs was carried out.

Press report from 1944

The visit ended when they were driven quickly around the domestic sites and messes before leaving the village.

Visit the Witchford Airfield ‘Museum’ for more details.

(Thanks, as always, to MIKE PETTY, for recalling this on our behalf)

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