The Imperial War Museum has urged the public to turn detective to help identify people who met American airmen and women in Britain during the Second World War.

The American Air Museum, based in Duxford, Cambridgeshire is collecting images and information about US Army Air Forces who served in England during the war.

The museum today launches a crowdsourcing website, displaying 5,000 images drawn from a collection of 15,000 prints and slides built up by Roger Freeman, an aviation historian.

Bosses now want the public to help spot familiar faces or places, to bolster the site’s use as a digital resource.

‘Some of the photographs on our website show the Americans talking to local children during the Second World War,’ said project leader Jenny Cousins.

‘Perhaps someone using our website will recognise their grandma or – better still – perhaps she will recognise herself. We hope that people will add their own pictures and tell us their stories.’

A spokesman for the Imperial War Museum, where the American Air Museum is based, added: ‘You can become an armchair history detective and help us to fill in the gaps in information that we currently have.

‘For instance, we need to know more about the civilians that the American service personnel met in the UK.

‘We also know very little about the United States Army Air Forces bases that provided support to the air bases – the bakeries, laundries and logistics of catering for up to half a million Americans.’

For details visit www.americanairmuseum.com 

Staff Sergeant Joseph Francis Kotlarz (1914–2004), 96th Bomb Group

Staff Sergeant Joseph Francis Kotlarz (1914–2004), 96th Bomb Group

Virginia Irwin (1908–1980), features writer from a Missouri newspaper, interviews Lieutenant Glennon T ‘Bubbles’ Moran of the 352nd Fighter Group at Bodney air base in Norfolk

Virginia Irwin (1908–1980), features writer from a Missouri newspaper, interviews Lieutenant Glennon T ‘Bubbles’ Moran of the 352nd Fighter Group at Bodney air base in Norfolk

Sergeant Leroy A Nitschke (1899–1993), an armorer with the 4th Fighter Group, stands beside boxes of ammunition at Debden air base in Essex

Sergeant Leroy A Nitschke (1899–1993), an armorer with the 4th Fighter Group, stands beside boxes of ammunition at Debden air base in Essex

[All photo credits: Imperial War Museum]