During World War Two Glenn Miller was based at Milton Ernest Hall which is a couple of miles from The Twinwood Arena and Airfield.
It was at this Hall that Glenn gave performances with his orchestra and in nearby Bedford they played at the Corn Exchange, this building still looks very much the same as it did then
Glenn turned the Co-Partners Hall in Bedford into his Radio Station and here the bulk of his recording was done along with many famous stars such as Bing Crosby and Bob Hope.
On August 27th 1944 at RAF Twinwood Airfield Glenn Miller performed a concert for the aircrews using two trailers as a stage next to Twinwood Control Tower. It was at the Control Tower that Glenn Miller was last seen alive on a bleak day in December 1944. From here he flew to his death with two others in a Norseman - a small single engine aircraft en route to Paris to lead his orchestra.
In 2001 Twinwood Events took on the task of transforming the Tower back to its original condition. On June 2nd 2002, the newly restored and refurbished Control Tower was opened to the public by Beryl Davis, Glenn's wartime singer. To celebrate this a Glenn Miller Concert was held, and this was the forerunner of what is now the annual Glenn Miller Festival.
The loss of Glenn Miller on December 15th 1944, whilst flying from Twinwood Airfield to Paris, is above everything else the one wartime event that sets Twinwood Airfield apart from all others.
There were many factors at play that morning and although there are many theories the most predominant are;
(i) that the weather forecast was not suitable for the flight and legend has it that the advice not to fly was over ruled.
(ii) it is thought likely that the Norseman containing Glenn Miller was brought down by the discarded bomb loads of a returning group of RAF bombers low on fuel.
Until such time that there is evidence found, exactly what happened will remain somewhat of a mystery.
From running his civilian band, in 1942 Glenn Miller joined the United States Army Air Force and was appointed the Band Director and commissioned with the rank of Captain. As such he set about modernising the traditional military style music by introducing elements of Jazz and Blues.
A number of service orchestras were formed from an initial large scale marching band and recordings of the new sound of American military music were made. Many live appearances were undertaken until in 1944 Glenn Miller brought the band to the United Kingdom where over 800 performances were undertaken for allied service personnel. Known for their attention to detail and playing accuracy the band performed and recorded with other stars from the war era such as Bing Crosby,Irene Manning and Dinah Shore.
Glenn Miller and the Army Air Force Band
Glenn Miller in Bedfordshire
Over the years thousands of people have visited the Twinwood Airfield Control Tower to pay homage to this legendary musician and band leader and it has become somewhat of a shrine to his fans from around the world, and of course it is now the focal point of the incredible International Glenn Miller Festival which is held over the three days of the August Bank Holiday (see Future Events in the Twinwood Events Ltd Web Site)