Heritage day at 100th Bomb Group Memorial Museum in Thorpe Abbotts will remember the ‘friendly invasion’
ARCHANT EASTERN DAILY PRESS (01603) 772434
Three-quarters of a century have passed since they first stepped onto East Anglian soil but their presence is still felt today.
And now a memorial event is planned to commemorate the “friendly invasion” of US airmen and ground crew during the final years of the Second World War.
The 100th Bomb Group Memorial Museum in Thorpe Abbotts will host the Remembering the Past event on Sunday, September 3 to mark 75 years since the US Air Force build an air base there which become home to 2,000-3,000 service personnel.
Wartime vehicles will go on display and there will also be military re-enactors and a sale of second-hand aviation books, art and DVDs.
People who lived near the airfield during the war will also be there to share their memories.
John Deller, a museum volunteer, said: “We felt it important to have this day whilst we still have local people around who remember the friendly invasion who are still able to recall those days and tell people what it was like living and playing around the airfield and how their relationships as children grew with their adult American peers.”
Mr Deller said 2017 also marked other anniversaries including 75 years since the formation of the 8th Air Force and the 100th Bomb Group, and 40 years since work started on converting the site into a museum.
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It also marks 25 years of the 100th Air Refuelling Wing being based at RAF Mildenhall, whose planes carry a square ‘D’ identification letter on their tails, continuing a practice started by the bomb group.
Sunday will also be 78 years to the day since Neville Chamberlain made a radio speech to the nation, declaring war with Germany.
Mr Deller said interest in the museum had grow over the years, with ever more family members of the personnel who served there visiting from the US to discover this unique chapter of our wartime alliance and shared history.
A television series based on the bomb group, known as the ‘Bloody Hundredth’ for the casualties they suffered, is planned by Tom Hank’s production company.
The event will also include activities for children and a raffle.
The event runs from 10am to 5pm, and guests are encouraged to get into the vintage spirit and dress up in 1940s clothes