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The distinctive half-moon huts celebrating a century

Nissen huts were invented 100 years ago. Photo: ITV News Anglia

In the First and Second World Wars, Nissen Huts were built in their thousands as a simple building which which could act as offices, storage sheds or living quarters for the troops.

The design was created by a Canadian engineer serving in the British Army, Major Peter Nissen, in April 1916.

It's said one of the half-moon shaped buildings could be built by four servicemen in just a few hours.

The Nissen hut design was created by a Canadian engineer serving in the British Army. Credit: ITV News Anglia

In the First World War most Nissen huts were built on the Western Front in France and Belgium. But in the Second War they were widely used at air bases in Britain.

Some remain as relics of a bygone era.

With wartime shortages, the semi-cylindrical buildings made from wooden frames and corrugated steel needed to be economical in terms of the materials used and they needed to be portable.

Archaeologist Martin Cuthbert says it's amazing that the 'temporary' huts still survive 70 years later. Credit: ITV News Anglia

"There were extremely easy to put up. They were classed as temporary structures but it's amazing that some still survive after 70 years.

"Most of the one that do survive have been utilised post-war for instance on industrial estates.

"There are a lot in a derelict state and used for agricultural storage."

– Martin Cuthbert, Archaeologist

Click below to watch a video report by ITV News Anglia's Stuart Leithes

At what used to be RAF Bottisham near Cambridge a new museum is being established to educate visitors about the airfield.

Volunteers have also been re-creating a Nissen hut to the original specifications.

Nissen huts were invented 100 years ago by a Canadian engineer in the British Army.