Little Boys With The
U. S. A. A. F. In 1943/45
ago as it was, I remember very clearly the events of June 8th, 1943 and
the 381st Bomb Group as I made my way home from Ridgewell School. The
B 17, Flying Fortresses were about to come in to land at the base as our
parents and the school children went up to the airfield to see the homecoming.
An M.P. allowed us to get over the barbed wire fence and stand beside
the taxi-way to wave at the airmen in the planes as they went by. We saw
the planes come home: some shot to pieces, some crashed on landing and
many did not come home at all.
During the two years that the Americans were here, my chum Colin used
to go to the base on the back of his dad's bicycle to watch the planes
land and, I would say, the experience was something youngsters would never
forget - especially all the chewing gum and candy - some of us used to
go down to the mess halls for food.
Yes, we made a lot of American friends that we still have today and to
keep their memories alive we have set up, with greatly appreciated help
from local people and other nearby 8th Airforce bases, an exhibition of
381st memorabilia. On the second Sunday of each month March until September
a group of local volunteers help us stage the event.
The Exhibition is held between 11am and 5pm in the old hospital building
behind the Memorial which is situated just off the A1017 (formerly A604)
in Great Yeldham and we have on show Uniforms, Photos, Maps, Other Memorabilia,
Parts of Crashed B17s, Military Vehicles and many other items we have
collected since the war.
Since starting we have now expanded to include 90 Squadron, RAF who operated
Stirling aircraft prior to the arrival of the US forces.
is free (donations always appreciated) and all are welcome.