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The plaque in Bushy Park says: This tablet marks the site of the European headquarters UNITED STATES ARMY AIR FORCES JULY 1942 – December 1944 and is dedicated by the Royal Air Force to their comrades-in-arms


Huts were built along Chestnut Avenue in Bushy Park and furnished by Bentalls
The slightly buried open books mark the positions of the huts in Camp Griffiss – can you find them?


Eighty years ago next month marks the anniversary of the time when Bushy Park  – played a vital but perhaps unfamiliar role to many in the outcome of the Second World War in 1944.

Bushy Park had become home to American troops who established a military base at the park in 1942, known as Camp Griffiss.

Then, in 1944, the Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) also moved into the park. The nearby Shaef Way is named after the wartime military HQ. It was from here that they finalised the plans for the D-Day landings.

Bushy Park will be marking the significant milestone over the weekend of June 8/9.

Initial planning had taken place in central London, but it was decided that this needed to be moved to a more rural location – and Bushy Park offered that opportunity.

One of the four rectangular Blocks on site would be taken over by those planning the invasion, with C Block set to be forever immortalised in history as the location of General Dwight Eisenhower’s office.

Look out posts, anti-aircraft guns and radar helped protect Camp Griffiss from enemy bombing


A rare photo of light aircraft in Bushy Park. It was used for liaison aircraft. The runway ran along the south side of the park, near where the playground and main car park are now located

By the end of 1943 plans were being drawn up for the invasion of France, with American General Eisenhower appointed as Supreme Commander and tasked with delivering the plan.

To help mould the final plan, SHAEF was created, headed up by General Eisenhower. This international allied force was united against Germany to bring the Second World War to an end and contained representatives from the Army, Navy, and Air Force.

SHAEF Headquarters moved to Bushy Park on 5 March 1944, located in C Block in the north-eastern part of the park, between Warren Plantation and Sandy Lane.

SHAEF staff would spend the next 12 weeks in the park finalising plans for D-Day.

Although headquarters staff moved to Southwick House in Portsmouth just ahead of the invasion, SHAEF staff remained in the park until December 1944 when they moved across to France.

Celebrity visitors to Camp Griffiss included the black boxer Joe Louis, Bob Hope and the Glenn Miller band.



Photograph of Joe Louis at Bushy Park, donated by John Cork © Bushy Park Archive, The Royal Parks


This amazing guide is available at the Visitor Centre near The Pheasantry in Bushy Park

You can see an online history of Bushy Park’s amazing link with D-Day here https://www.royalparks.org.uk/read-watch-listen/operation-bushy-park-plotting-d-day-royal-park/planning-d-day




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