Remembering the brave airmen who brightened up our lives

These young airmen were out to enjoy themselves by reaching out to the people of Norfolk... they knew that come tomorrow they could be dead.

So many of the GIs who turned Norfolk into 'little America' during the second world war would never return home.

They died fighting for our freedom.

The Yanks brought colour into a black and white world.

They were shocked at the tough time the locals were having and were determined to help in any way they could.

These pictures of the Americans in Norfolk in 1944 illustrate how they offered the hand of friendship by bringing some life and some fun into the torn-apart lives of those who were surviving on rations.

The arrival of thousands of Americans with their Liberator bombers at airbases dotted across Norfolk and the rest of East Anglia must never be forgotten – and it is so important we keep their memory alive.

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A special film show will be held at the Wymondham Ex-Services Club (the old Regal) on Sunday, February 26, to raise funds for the 389th Bomb group Memorial Museum at Hethel and the Royal Signals organisation.

During the war the buildings which house the museum, including the chapel, formed part of the base from which B24 Liberators of the 389th Bomb Group of the of the Second Air Division United States 8th Army Air Force flew missions over Germany and occupied Europe.

Two thought-provoking and evocative documentaries will be screened, one of which tells the dramatic story of the men of the 452 Bomb Group at Deopham Green and the British families who lived on, or near, the base during the war.

The film features interviews with veterans and two local women, Patricia Steggles and Mary Huggins, who share their memories of the Yanks and still live at Little Ellingham.

The other film describes the daring low level long distance attack on Romanian oil fields from airfields in North Africa.

Among the bomb groups involved were the 44th, 93rd and 389th stationed at Shipdham, Hardwick and Hethel.

The determination and bravery of the men resulted in those groups receiving the Distinguished Unit Citation, at some cost. Both lives and planes were lost.

The 389th Bomb Group Museum and the Royal Signals will have stalls at the show on Sunday, February 26, at Wymondham Ex-Services Club at 2.30pm. Tickets cost �4 which can be booked by calling Fred Squires on 01953 607147 or bought at the door. There will also be refreshments and a raffle.

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