A three day tour taking in Cambridge, the Imperial War Museum at Duxford and the American cemetery at Madingley; Historic Norwich with its castle, cathedral and 2nd Air Division (USAAF) Memorial Library. I hope to give an insight of life on and off the bases that formed the “Fields of Little America” that the 8th Air force flew and fought from in World War 2. Some of the bases still with buildings, runways and museums and displaying aircraft and artefacts from the period.The Norfolk Records Office also holds a large collection of archives which is available for viewing by prior appointment.
Tibenham was the home of the 445th Bomber Group, the squadron commander 703 squadron was Captain James Stewart, who I had the good fortune to meet several times along with lots of other veterans on their frequent returns to their old haunts. The 445th group also saw the highest loss for a single mission and on the 25th September 1944 the group was part of a raid on Kassel, which ran into heavy fighter opposition from the Luftwaffe. Out of the 35 aircraft scheduled for the mission, 25 Squadron’s bombers crashed into Germany – where is was later reported that five American airmen were murdered by German villagers.Two planes crash landed in occupied French soil, and another smashed down near Brussels in Belgium. Of those which managed to limp to the Channel, two bombers were forced to down at the emergency strip at Manston. Of 39 bombers which went out, but only four returned to Tibenham (a fifth having crash landed at Old Buckenham, Norfolk, sadly killing a crewman within sight of home). Of the 238 men who boarded the bombers that day, only 121 survived.
Tours can be tailored to included some of the bases or places, that have a significance to tour members following friend and family footsteps.
Tibenham today is the home of the Norfolk gliding club and operates 4 days a week. Flights can be arranged in Gliders or Power aircraft at an extra cost subject to weather and availability. Visit http://www.norfolkglidingclub.com
The Imperial War Museum at Duxford operates the American Air Museum, which includes examples of the bombers and fighters that the airforce operated out of the east of England in WW2
The American cemetery at Madingley dates to 1943 when it was opened as a temporary cemetery on 30.5 acres of land donated by the University of Cambridge. After the war, it was selected as the only permanent American WWII military cemetery in the British Isles and about 42% of those temporarily interred in England and Northern Ireland during the war were reinterred at Cambridge Cemetery. It was dedicated on 16 July 1956. The cemetery contains 3,809 headstones, with the remains of 3,812 servicemen including airmen who died over Europe and sailors from North Atlantic convoys. The inscribed Wall of the Missing records the names of 5,127