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From an Evening Telegraph Supplement, 'Yanks' 1992
Podington Airfield House

Control tower is home, sweet home for Olive

Olive and the Control Tower in 1992
THE control tower at Podington guided thousands of GIs to safety during the war. But now is home, sweet home for 79-year-old widow Olive Braddick (pictured). Olive's husband Ernest, who died last year, bought it for a bargain £15,000 and provided his own labour to convert the empty building into a luxury home in 1989.

"It's very remote and a bit windy here but we have nice open views and I think it's lovely," said Mrs Braddick, to lives there with her son, also called Ernest, and their two pet dogs.

For many years the Braddicks, who come from Devon, ran a successful farm at nearby Melchbourne. Mr Braddick bought the old airfield in 1964 and set up his own airfield demolition company.

But in the 1970s he agreed to the main runway being used as a drag-racing strip and joined the board of Santa Pod Raceway, which still holds meetings a few hundred yards from the control tower.

Then in the summer of 1990, in a deal worth millions, Mr Braddick sold the whole of the site to Anglo-Albion Investments of London and the remaining huts and hangars are now rented out as industrial units.

Mrs Braddick is used to visiting Americans taking pictures of her four-bedroomed home, which has ready-made balconies and a new brick porch over the front door once used by air commanders.

And in a gesture of goodwill, the 92nd Bomb Group presented the Braddicks with a special plaque "in appreciation of the forebearance and patience shown to our members who have intruded on your property over the years in seach of memories."

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