Grand reopening celebrates Norfolk's 'friendly invasion'

Second Air Division

453rd Bomb Group based at Old Buckenham, March 1944 - Credit: Norfolk Record Office

It was the 'friendly invasion' - when United States airmen called Norfolk home while serving at its air bases during the Second World War.

And one of the symbols of the special bond created during the conflict has undergone a transformation.

American Library

Inside the American Library. - Credit: David Kirkham

The American Library, based in Norwich’s Millennium Library at the Forum has been revamped to bring the history of the 2nd Air Division to a new generation.

Liberator goodbye

Norfolk people wave goodbye to a Liberator as it leaves Horsham St Faith for the USA at the end of the war - Credit: Archant

A grand reopening took place on Wednesday (May 18).

Among those in attendance at the event were Colonel Charles Metrolis, US air attaché to the UK, and family members of US veterans who served in the east of England in the Second World War. 

The American Library has undergone a redevelopment with new displays.

The new ‘Wall of Honor’ features photos of the fallen and sits alongside the 'Roll of Honor' book, providing a permanent memorial to those who lost their lives.

Fallout from the Blitz during the Second World War in Norwich

Fallout from the Blitz during the Second World War in Norwich at the Harmers factory on St Andrews Street. - Credit: Archant Library

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The American Library was originally set up in 1963 as a living memorial to the near 7,000 personnel from the 2nd Air Division who were based in East Anglia during the Second World War and were killed in action.

Margaret Dewsbury

Margaret Dewsbury, cabinet member for communities and partnerships at Norfolk County Council - Credit: David Kirkham