We can be extremely precise when all of this came about through an interview I had with Eric Doe of Pricketts Hall Farm along the Earls Colne Road. Eric distinctly remembers in June 1942 the arrival of a large American staff car stopping outside his farm with two American flags fluttering on each wing. He jokingly said, “You don`t see many of them coming along the Earls Colne Rd!”
The car doors swung open and what appeared to Eric to be very high-ranking officials emerged in their American uniforms. They left the driver and walked across the road, taking a particular interest in a large wood at Butlers Farm, locally known as Nurses Wood.
Sadly, this was felled shortly after the war ended.
They soon disappeared in the direction of the wood and Eric thought this may be a good time to have a chat with the driver in an effort to shed some light on their mysterious arrival. However, the driver was having none of Eric`s questioning and continued to read a newspaper without hardly uttering a word, so Eric was none the wiser and he would just have to wait and see what happened next.
Was this going to mean another airfield? The area around Bures Hamlet was very undulating and far from ideal for an airfield. Then one morning in 1943 the normal peace and quiet of Earls Colne road was shattered by the sound of heavy machinery and trucks arriving, together with American soldiers shouting and gesticulating at the drivers and directing them towards Butlers Farm.
It soon became clear that large swathes of land and woodland had been commandeered for the site for a Forward Ammunition Depot or Dispersal Site. The wood at Butlers Farm would be especially useful for the storage of incendiary bombs, well away from the prying eyes of the German Luftwaffe.