B17 Flying Fortress flies to East Anglia

Ben Kendall Throughout the second world war, East Anglia acted as an aircraft carrier for the Flying Fortress. Now, more than 60 years later, memories of that era are to be recreated as one of the 390th Bomb Group's most famous aircraft prepares to return to these shores.

Ben Kendall

Throughout the second world war, East Anglia acted as an aircraft carrier for the Flying Fortress.

Now, more than 60 years later, memories of that era are to be recreated as one of the 390th Bomb Group's most famous aircraft prepares to return to these shores.

The 1940s-built B17 Flying Fortress Liberty Belle will be flown from its base in Georgia, USA, along the war-time delivery route across Canada, Greenland, Iceland and the UK.

Visitors to the Flying Legends Airshow at Duxford, Cambridge-shire, in July will then be able to see the bomber, highlighting the crucial role Norfolk and Suffolk airbases played during the war.

In the 1940s, B17s carried out daylight precision bombing raids on German industrial targets from bases including Snetterton.

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A spokesman for the museum said: “Flying Legends provides the airshow public with an unrivalled line-up of the great classic propeller- driven combat aircraft of the bygone years. This year's event promises another exciting line-up with more than 60 aircraft scheduled to take part, including two B17s gracing the Duxford skies.”

Don Brooks will pilot the plane. He is son of Elton Brooks, a B17 tail gunner based at Framlingham airfield who flew some 34 missions.

He last flew this route in 1994 in his DC3 (C47) Dakota, bringing US veterans back to the D-Day beaches. He dropped them over Sainte-Mere-Eglise, a sight witnessed by thousands, including a host of dignitaries from around the world.

But his latest flight is in memory of not just his father but all those who served in the US Army Air Corps' Eighth Air Force - often referred to as the Mighty Eighth.

Mr Brooks has made it his mission to find and a restore a B17. The journey in July will see him complete his dream as the plane flies over the control tower at Martlesham, which remains intact.

Liberty Belle will then star at The Flying Legends airshow on July 12 and 13 at Duxford's airfield, now part of the Imperial War Museum.