Work is underway on war memorial in Eye to honour US airmen

Work has started on land off Progress Way, Eye, for a war memorial for the 490th Bomb Group.

Work has started on land off Progress Way, Eye, for a war memorial for the 490th Bomb Group. - Credit: Archant

Work has begun on a war memorial which will pay tribute to the US airmen who served in Eye during the Second World War.

B-17 bomber flying over Eye Airfield

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

A digger has moved in and the ground is being cleared and levelled ready for the black granite monument, which is currently being made at HL Perfitt in Diss, to take pride of place on land off Progress Way.

From 1944 to 1945 up to 10,000 airmen served at Eye Airfield as part of the 490th Bombardment Group - 237 were killed during service.

To honour these men the 490th Memorial Project was set up and for two years its members worked hard to find land and gain permission to build the monument. This was granted by Mid Suffolk District Council last month.

Fred Astbury, member of the 490th Memorial Project, said: 'It is nice to see something happen. The big thing for me was getting the key for the gate because that was when we knew it was happening.


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'It is great to know we are moving on with it. Eric Swain, our historian, came up from London to turn the first bit of soil with a shovel from 1942. We are hoping by the end of the month the monument will be ready.'

At the end of next month some of the veterans who served at the airfield, and their families, will make the trip over from the US.

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They will be taken to the Imperial War Museum Duxford and the Madingley American Cemetery in Cambridge.

They will then attend the official opening of the memorial on Sunday, May 29 and will be joined by American service men and woman from RAF Mildenhall and Lakenheath.

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