Newly launched online archive sheds light on US heroes based in Norfolk
- Credit: Norfolk Record Office
It is a fascinating chapter in our region's wartime history that saw thousands of American personnel based across the county.
And now a new online digital archive which is being launched in Norwich today aims to shed new light on their lives more than 70 years later.
Thousands of rare documents have been made available to the public telling the story of US pilots stationed in Norfolk during the Second World War.
It features more than 30,000 unique photographs, memoirs and correspondence from the United States Army Air Force Second Air Division.
The archive was made possible thanks to a legacy of more than $88,000 from veteran 1st Lt Bernard Newmark and is being opened at the Forum later today.
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Group Capt Richard Middleton, chairman of the Second Air Division Memorial Trust, said: 'Bernie Newmark's legacy is another example of the extraordinary generosity of the veterans and of their commitment to keeping alive the memory of their fallen comrades.
'I hope that people will explore the archive and find this record of an important part of our local history interesting.'
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In total, Mr Newmark left $188,000 to the trust following his death in June 2001.
He served as a co-pilot with the 458th bomber group based at Horsham St Faith.
The memorial trust was created at the end of the war as a way of honouring the causalities lost during the conflict.
It is hoped that the new digital archive will provide a valuable resource for relatives still living across the Atlantic.
Harry Humphrey, Norfolk County Council's vice-chairman of the communities committee, said: 'This new resource will enable relatives overseas to access records of loved ones who served in World War Two and we are extremely grateful to the legacy of veteran Bernard Newmark for the development of this very important website.
'Exploring the history and experiences of servicemen and women based in our region helps us understand their significant contribution.'
Visit www.2ndair.org.uk/digitalarchive to view the new archive