American veteran returns to airfield where he served during the Second World War

Albert Freitas is welcomed back to Thorpe Abbotts Airfield by volunteers from the 100th Refuelling

Albert Freitas is welcomed back to Thorpe Abbotts Airfield by volunteers from the 100th Refuelling - Credit: 100th Bomb Group

In 1943 Albert Freitas was part of the early Flying Fortress crews to arrive from the US at Thorpe Abbotts Airfield, near Diss.

The Californian flew 10 missions with the 100th Bomb Group before the ball turret gunner's B-17 was shot down on April 28, 1944.

He spent the remainder of the war as a prisoner of war at Stalag 17B in Austria.

Now 94, Mr Freitas returned to the airfield, home to the 100th Bomb Group Memorial Museum, where he was welcomed by volunteers from the 100th Refuelling Wing based at RAF Mildenhall – a predecessor of the 100th Bomb Group.

The veteran has returned to the museum twice before and Ronald Batley, its curator, said it was nice to welcome the staff sergeant back.


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He said: 'He was very pleased to be back. Coming back here brought back all the memories for him.

'We have had a lot of the veterans come back and visit over the years but to have one of them now when he is 94 was not expected.'

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On his visit to Norfolk, Mr Freitas was also able to catch up with Gorleston pensioner Malcolm Metcalfe.

The pair met in 2014 when Mr Metcalfe travelled 10,500 miles across the US on the Amtrak to raise money for the East Coast Hospice.

Mr Batley said he believes Mr Freitas will most likely be the last veteran to return to the museum.

He added: 'We do get a lot of family members, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, who come and visit. They can learn some things about their family here.'

The 100th Bomb Group Memorial Museum is open weekends and bank holidays from 10am to 5pm until October 31.

It is also open on Wednesdays until September.

For more information visit http://www.100bgmus.org.uk/

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