Romance parachuted into the city
When American troops arrived in Leicestershire in 1944, they brought a dash of colour to otherwise dreary, rationed wartime living.
They made a big impression and for one man, who was a Leicester teenager at the time, sparked a fascination and admiration which has burned strongly over the last 70 years.
For Alan Boot, then a 16-year-old engineer pattern maker working long hours on war work at Wadkins, Green Lane Road, the Americans brought a touch of escapism.
And, appropriately for Valentine's Day, as Alan explains, for some local ladies, they also brought love and romance.
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"The Yanks arrived – and didn't we just know it!" says Alan, of Thurnby.
"The 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment arrived at their camp in Wood Lane, Quorn, on February 14, 1944 – Valentine's Day.
"The 504th were camped at Braunstone Park and Shady Lane, Evington, just down the hill from the church, whilst the 325th Glider Infantry were camped at Scraptoft.
"The young girls swarmed around them like wasps around a jam pot!
"What was the attraction? Was it their money? They had plenty. Was it their uniform? They were smart. Or was it their manners? 'Good morning, mam', 'Yes, mam', 'No, mam' – they were very polite.
"One of the GIs I knew was Ott Carpenter, from Oklahoma.
"He was in the 505th, stationed at Quorn. I lived on Thorpewell, North Evington and Ott was courting a girl named Ethel, who lived three doors away from me.
"When the war ended, Thorpewell had a street party on the green. A long table was put up and everyone took their chairs. There was also a big bonfire. With help, my dad brought the piano out into the front garden and we all had a great sing-song, which went on until about two in the morning.
"Sometime during the day, someone shouted "Here comes Ott!".
"He was walking down the hill from St Chads Church, with his kitbag. Ethel ran up the hill to greet him: the kitbag was flung on the floor and there were hugs and kisses for quite a while.
"My dad put his handkerchief to his face: I asked him if he was OK, to which Dad replied he was, it was just something from the bonfire which had got in his eyes...
"Ott and Ethel were married at St Chad's Church and went over to the USA to live in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where they lived happily ever after.
"They have both now passed away."
Alan's enthusiasm for the American veterans is sincere. He has flown to veterans' reunions in the States, greeted and escorted veterans when they have returned to their old Leicestershire bases and had their veterans' newspaper, the Static Line, delivered from across the Atlantic.
The US paratroopers arrived in Leicestershire on Valentine's Day and kindled romances that overcame and outlasted the ordeals of war.
Alan is pictured here wearing the Ike jacket of a US 82nd Airborne Master Sergeant.