Letter from America.

In August David Cain, our project leader, travelled to America to research the story of the 8th USAAF. His visit was enabled through Penn State University and funded by the Albert M. Petska Eighth Air Force Archives Research Travel Award.

David had the opportunity to explore the extensive 8th USAAF archive collection held at the prestigious Pattee-Paterno Library. The collection is a real goldmine of information and holds many letters and personal items alongside photographs and service records.

David was particularly fascinated by the North Atlantic Division Air Routes Pilot’s Guide from the Lt. Edward Dahlbere collection; a full colour map detailing routes, navigation and landing fields all the way from America to the West of Europe. Art Brusila, a veteran David met at the University, told him of how the landing site on Greenland was ‘ a one way trip’ as you could land on the single runway but not take off again.

David  gave a lecture at the University about the social history of the 8th USAAF, the links between Pennsylvania and Norfolk, and the legacy of the Americans’  time in England during the war. This enabled him to weave items from the Penn State collection into the story of the 8th in the East’s work back in England.

He was also  invited by Sue Moyer, whose father served with the 306th BG at RAF Thurleigh, to meet with veterans and families from Centre State in Pennsylvania. This was a great opportunity to  chat over root beer and home made pie, share information about the 8th in the East’s work, and hear from people in Pennsylvania about their links to places back home such as Rougham, Thurleigh and Old Buckenham.

Whilst in America, David also took  the time to meet with Ed Moran, Literary Editor of the Hyam Plultzik estate. Hyam was a poet who latter became Professor of English Literature at  the University of Rochester.  He served during the war as an intelligent officer with the 8th USAAF at RAF Shipdham in Norfolk. It was fascinating to find out more about Hyam’s life and we hope to share more of this with you in the future.

David would like to thank all at Penn State University for their support and generosity during his stay and the Albert M. Petska award who made the trip possible. There are many friendships and links made that will enable the growth of our work in the future.