While visiting England this summer, we took a day trip to Cambridge, where we came across a unique memorial to World War II air crews. During the war, Cambridge had a number of airfields in its vicinity, and airmen from Britain’s Royal Air Force and the U.S. Air Force frequently relaxed at the city’s Eagle Pub. Particularly popular was a bar at the back of the Eagle, now known as the “RAF Bar.”
It’s said that in 1941 or early 1942, an airman balanced a chair on a table in the bar and stood on the chair. Using his lighter, the airman burned his squadron’s number into the bar’s ceiling. Other airmen followed his lead and over time, the bar’s ceiling and walls became decorated with names, slogans and squadron numbers. Perhaps, knowing they might not return from dangerous missions, the airmen wanted to leave their mark.
The ceiling has been fully restored. The Eagle’s pints are good too!