In rural East Anglia, the ideal site for bombing crews to prepare for raids on Germany, newly constructed airbases had a huge impact on the flat and largely agricultural landscape and on rural communities. In a short three year span the 8th Air Force occupied nearly seventy airfields in the region bringing around 3,000 men and women to each of these places.
Their presence affected the lives of those living in the villages surrounding the airbases, including the children who played on the airfields, the women who cooked, cleaned and cared for the servicemen, the Land Girls working on the surrounding fields and the families who welcomed the servicemen into their homes.
The impact of WW2 in the region can still be felt today, and is quite possibly the largest social and cultural change to have ever happened here.
Three B-24 Liberators of the 458th Bomb Group fly in formation over countryside. Image Courtesy of the American Air Museum. FRE 67211
Farmers at work near an 8th USAAF base during WW2. Image Courtesy of the American Air Museum. FRE6539
A B-17 Flying Fortress (serial number 42-10706) nicknamed “Miss Bea Havin'” of the 388th Bomb Group flies over countryside., Image Courtesy of the American Air Museum. FRE 6468
farmers wife herds a flock of ducks past Master Sergeant JF Hallmaker and ground personnel of the 91st Bomb Group, whilst cleaning the guns on a B-17 Flying Fortress nicknamed “Mary Lou”. Image courtesy of the American Air Museum. FRE3546
Sunset over East Wretham, home of the 359th Fighter Group.Image Courtesy of the American Air Museum. FRE 6180.
.Farmers collect hay at Andrewsfield whilst personnel of the 322nd Bomb Group work on a B-26 Marauder (serial number 41-31814) nicknamed “Bag Of Bolts”.Image courtesy of the American Air Museum. FRE7089
A farmer at work with a traction .engine, photographed by an airman of the 44th Bomb Group.Image courtesy of the American Air Museum. FRE7089
Personnel of the 303rd Bomb Group visit the local water pump. (FRE 1002)