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Glenn Miller

Glenn Miller was born on March 1st 1904, in Clarinda, Iowa, USA.

As a youth he became interested in music and eventually dropped out of university to concentrate on becoming a full time professional musician. He joined his first big band in 1925 where he played alongside the great Benny Goodman.

In 1928 Glenn Miller married Helen in New York City and over the next few years he played with several bands including the Legendary Dorsey Brothers. Glenn formed his own band in 1936 but had to wait until 1939 for the ‘big break’, which came with several lucrative performances and the recording of  ‘In The Mood’ and ‘Tuxedo Junction’.

The Glenn Miller Band topped the polls in 1940 and 1941 and it starred in the film ‘Sun Valley Serenade’.

Glenn dearly loved his country and, although being over the call up age, he decided on 15th February 1942 at the age of 36 to join the armed forces.  He became a captain and was assigned to the Army Air Corps. The AAF Band was formed to publicise the role of the USAAF and to encourage young Americans to join up and also the band was involved in the War Bond drive.  Before D-Day it was decided to send the band to England to help boost the morale of the many American servicemen stationed in the East Anglian region.  Early in July 1944 Glenn Miller and his orchestra arrived in Bedford, which was already 'liberty town' to hundreds of soldiers and military personnel from the many surrounding base camps. 

Bedford had become a centre for the nation’s entertainment with the evacuation of the BBC to the town in 1942, and stars of radio and stage became a regular sight around the town.   No one however could have imagined that Glenn Miller, one of the world’s most popular entertainers, would be billeted in the town in 1944.  Following him and his band’s arrival, there began a steady stream of famous names, legends in their own right - David Niven, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and many others. 

Despite his exhausting schedule of concerts and recording dates Glenn and his band paid special tribute to his Bedfordian hosts with several additional performances in and around the town.

It was after D-Day that Glenn was due to relocate to the European Theatre of Operations beginning with a Christmas Eve performance in the newly liberated Paris. He had planned to travel on ahead of the band to ensure necessary preparations had been made for their concert performance and although bad weather delayed his original flight Major Glenn Miller took off from RAF Twinwood in a small aircraft on Friday December 15th 1944 at 13.55 hrs. He was never seen again.

It is the legacy of his music and the love of his country that Glenn Miller left behind. He is remembered with affection by the people of Bedfordshire, where he made his ‘home from home’ during the last year of his life.

Glenn Miller Leaflet.

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Bedford Borough is a vibrant area to live in with an abundance of leisure opportunities for residents and visitors. We pride ourselves on offering a fantastic programme of cultural events throughout the year, and providing a wide range of affordable health opportunities, through our quality parks, award winning leisure centres and sports development work.

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