What & Where: Oxford’s Military Murals

What: Murals by servicemen of the United States Air Force
Where: RAF Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire, UK (now closed)

Mural_SPI_by_John_GeruntinoOxford Archaeology recently announced the launch of a project to record the Cold War paintings on the internal walls of former airbase, RAF Upper Heyford in Oxfordshire. The majority of the artwork was created by American servicemen, who were stationed there between 1950 and 1991. The soldiers were part of a strategically-placed US Air Force presence in Britain to enable a fast response by American fighter aircraft should the Cold War suddenly turn hot.

An official scheme called ‘Project Warrior’ from the 1980s encouraged the airmen to produce art to prevent boredom and improve their integration. With subject matter ranging from patriotic symbols and pop culture to menacing comments on current political concerns, the variously sardonic and humourous murals at RAF Upper Heyford show both positive and negative responses to military action.

A sample of the work can be seen on the RAF Upper Heyford memorial website.

John Geruntino, mural in hallway of LE Building, RAF Upper Heyford, 1986–1991

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