Flying fortress to take to the skies at this year’s Old Buckenham Air Show

B-17 Sally B performs will be at this year's Old Buckenham Air Show. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

B-17 Sally B performs will be at this year's Old Buckenham Air Show. Picture by SIMON FINLAY. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

There was a time when the skies of East Anglia thundered with the sound of Flying Fortresses. Now, one of the world's few remaining veterans from that period will return once again.

B-17 bomber flying over Eye Airfield

B-17 bomber flying over Eye Airfield - Credit: Archant

The Sally B - the last airworthy B-17 in Europe - is to be the star attraction at this year's Old Buckenham Air Show.

During the Second World War, the American bombers were stationed in this region in their hundreds, at the forefront of the Allied campaign against Nazi Germany. Sally B itself was made in the middle of 1945, just too late to be used in active service during the war.

It has been kept flying as an airborne memorial to the United States Army Air Forces airmen who lost their lives in the conflict - many while flying from Norfolk and Suffolk bases.

It featured in the 1990 film Memphis Belle, about the 25th - and last - mission of an American crew taking part in a raid over Germany. The aircraft is now based at the Imperial War Museum, at Duxford. It flew at the Old Buckenham show in 2004, and has also put in appearances at Seething air show, most recently, last year.


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Matt Wilkins, organiser of the Old Buckenham show, said: 'Having a US bomber at a former United States airbase is quite something. A US bomber at Old Buckenham has been an extremely rare sight since the end of the war, and Sally B's visit will be an extraordinarily emotional return after more than a decade.'

Although B-17s were not stationed at Old Buckenham Airfield they were flown from Horham, Parham and Thorpe Abbotts Airfields, among others. The Old Buckenham Airshow was revived in 2012 and will take place on July 30 and 31 this year. Several changes to rules governing airshows were introduced following the tragedy at Shoreham, last year, when 11 people were killed when a 1950s jet crashed. However, the restrictions will not make any difference to Sally B's appearance.

For more information about the airshow visit http://www.oldbuck.com/en/home/

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