I took out Amazon Prime membership several months ago, mostly for the chance to view videos and films from the Prime catalogue during the first UK Covid lockdown. I started with a monthly sub (£7.99) but soon opted for the annual sub (£79) because it was such good value. For me the clincher was a remake of the film 'Midway'.
I'm a fan of WWII films that are 'true' to fact and I've always rated the 1976 film starring Charlton Heston, Henry Fonda and co. When I searched for 'Midway' on Prime it offered me a 2019 remake. I was dubious. Would it be equally true to the facts and the original film? Would it show the expanse of the battle, or be a claustrophobic studio-based cheap remake? I need not have worried. The 2019 'Midway' is as accurate in detail as the 1976 film and is also as expansive, so that you get a true sense of the vast scope of the battle.
What I wasn't expecting is the high quality special effects. They add a totally new dimension to the film. To see close-up a plane skid across the deck of a carrier brings home the everyday horror of war in a way that I had not expected. So I strongly recommend Prime to you for the quality of the films and TV shows on offer. And, of course, with Prime you also get free delivery for all your other purchases.
One final tip - make the most of Prime video with an Amazon Fire Stick. Buy Prime here now, and help support this website and its YouTube channel.
The video to the service of the 389th Bombardment Group (Heavy) who served at Hethel was on YouTube published last week. You can view it here.
Just published - the video of the memorials to the 448th BG(H) who served at Seething airfield. You can view it here
I decided I needed a break from the fare available on a well-known streaming service. Its not that I'm against dubbed Russian war series. More that I prefer war films that have a solid basis in actual events.
A quick look through the DVD shelf produced 'Patton' and 'A Bridge Too Far'. Not in the mood for heroic failure, I opted against Operation Market Garden and sat down to watch 'Patton'. It was worth it and I recommend it to you.
George C Scott is outstanding in the title role. There is no subtlety or nuance in his characterisation, nor would we expect any in a Biopic 0f Patton. Instead we see an idiosyncratic man, a leader, with a tyrannical edge. A man who produced results that shortened the length of the war.
Its worth the time (and the price) just for the opening sequence in which Patton delivers a rousing speech, a call to arms to his troops. This is a stunning performance with an excellent script, and sets the standard for the rest of the film. It had me Googling 'Oscars'. It won seven including 'Best Picture' and, not surprisingly, 'Best Actor' went to George. So the film is no lighweight. At 163 minutes its also not in the '95 minute' mould of modern films. So set aside a full evening, make yourself comfortable with an appropriate supply of refrehments, and watch one of the greats - the film and the General.
These are photos of Seething airfield memorial, taken just before the Covid-19 lockdown. The 448th BG(H) served there from 1943 to 1945. The memorial to their service is shown.
These pictures will contribute to our next video.
We're proud to announce that we have published our video tribute of the memorial to the 93rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) who served at Hardwick, Station 104. You can find it here.
I came across this memorial, to local brewery workers, in central Norwich. But do you know where it is? First correct answer gets a mention in this blog. See contact page for contact details.
This post is about a military memorial, but with a difference. This is the campaign for a memorial to the 97 British troops massacred by the SS at Le Paradis, in northern France in 1940. They fought the SS to a standstill in the defence of the Dunkirk evacuation and surrendered only after running out of ammunition.
Instead of becoming POW's, as they had every right to expect, they were machine gunned. Many victims of this war crime were from The Royal Norfolks. There are at least four memorials to these heroes near the scene of the battle in Le Paradis, northern France, but none in Norfolk.
To find out more about the massacre click here
To support the campaign for a memorial click here
Below is a photo of one of the memorials in France.
Hill 112, south of Caen, was an objective of Operation Jupiter in July 1944. These photos give a feel of the extent of the memorial.
Normandy, unsurprisingly, has multiple memorials relating to the D-Day landings. I have many photos taken during a visit to Caen in the summer. I'll include some in the next couple of posts. This memorial is in the town centre in Bayeux, and speaks for itself.
The video of the memorial to the service of the 351st BG(H) has now been uploaded to YouTube. To help us grow the memory of the role of the USAAF in defeating Nazi Germany please give it a thumbs up and subscribe. You can view it here.
The video of the memorials, in two locations, to the service of the 401st Bombardment Group (Heavy) has just been published on YouTube. Please view it and if you like it then log into Google to give it a thumbs up, and to subscribe to the 'Mighty Eighth: memorials in England' channel.
Recently I've been researching the defence of Dunkirk in 1940 by the Royal Norfolk Regiment. They were among units fighting a rearguard action, defending the approaches to Dunkirk while the greater part of the British Army was evacuated. They fought bravely, heroically even, and fought the Nazis (an SS regiment) to a standstill. Only when they had exhausted all their ammunition did they surrender - and pay the ultimate price. Instead of becoming POW's they were murdered by the SS. Their only crime was that they had resisted too determinedly and inflicted too many casualties on the Nazis. Ninety seven british were murdered that day, more than fifty of them members of The Royal Norfolk Regiment. You can read more here.
There are also several memorials at the site of the massacre. You can see them here.
You can join the campaign for a memorial to these 97 hereos by clicking here
Another new video added to our YouTube channel. This features the excellent 2nd AD Memorial Library. Check it out here
The latest video added to our YouTube channel shows the memorials to the 457th, who served at Glatton Station 130. The memorial count was very high, so the video is the longest yet (5min 25sec). You can view it by clicking here
Two new videos have been added to our video channel. Both relate to the memorials to the men of the 388th BG(H) who served at Knettishall. You will find links by clicking here
These photographs were taken at the American Cemetery in Normandy. Several hundred Mighty 8th casualties are buried or otherwise commemorated there.
On a trip to London, for a Christmas 'singalong' concert at the Royal Albert Hall, I travelled through Liverpool Street station. At the entrance (the one in Liverpool Street!) is this memorial to the Kindertransport. The inscription reads
Children of the Kindertransport
In gratitude to the people of Britain for saving the lives of 10,000 unaccompanied mainly Jewish children who fled from Nazi persecution in 1938 and 1939
I often travel through the station, and must have walked past the memorial, without noticing, many times.
I know its not a Mighty Eighth memorial, but it deserves inclusion in this site because it emphasises why the war was fought. Without the Kindertransport these children would have been murdered by the Nazis, the same fate that befell their families (who were not allowed to travel). They lived - as orphans - but they lived, unlike so many of their contemporaries.
The following photos are a sample from my visit to the ABMC* cemetery in Brittany, France.
*ABMC - American Battle Monuments Commission
Further photos from France. The blue sign is in the centre of the small market town, St James, in Brittany. The text with a black background is from a display at the American Cemetery in Normandy. They tell their own story.
Normandy is awash with memorials, museums, cemeteries and other reminders of WW2. Nevertheless, I was pleasantly surprised to find this memorial to the Royal Navy and Royal Marines in the carpark of Ouistreham ferry port. After all this time, more than 73 years after the Liberation, it is a stark reminder of how grateful the people of France still are for our role in liberating them from Nazi tyranny.
The American Air Museum in Britain website (part of the Imperial War Museum), has a photograph of this formation ship for the 445th BG. Unfortunately only black and white, but still worth a look. See it here.
Photo: 2nd AD Memorial Library model of the Liberator that served as the formation ship for 445th BG(H) out of Tibenham. The alternating black and orange stripes are for ease of identification.
Visited the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library in Norwich (England) last week - hence the photo above.
I’d been there before and knew the staff were well informed. I also knew there was an archive there, but I hadn’t realised just how much more was available. Very impressive. I learnt a lot. I recommend you to drop in if you’re in the vicinity.
My thanks to Libby Morgan, the Trust Librarian for her assistance.
Q. 'Bombardment Group' or 'Bomb Group' - which usage is correct?
A. The official and quasi-official sources, such as Eighth Air Force Historical Society and Army Air Forces in WWII websites, all seem to prefer bombardment as in Combat Bombardment Wing, Bombardment Group and Bombardment Squadron.
However, colloquially, bomb is usually used in place of bombardment, as in Bomb Squadron.
Interestingly, the American Battle Monuments Commission website search facility uses Bomber Squadron and similar.
And the short answer; all three variants are in current usage and therefore correct.
I was intrigued by the headstone to Pilot Officer D.C.Taylor (see photo below). A South African. Observer in the RAF. Jewish. Age 31 which, I believe, is relatively old for RAF service. Then comes the 'personal' comment at the bottom. 'His passing is a tragedy too great for words. MHDSRIP'. The opportunity to add a 'personal' comment is a service offered to the family - at a cost. Documents I have seen suggest the cost was 7/6 (seven shillings and six pence).
I did not know what 'MHDSRIP' stood for and had to look it up. 'May His Dear Soul Rest In Peace'.
Visited the main War Graves Commission Cemetery in Norwich. The gravestones tell so many stories. See what you think from this small selection of photos.
I've just been reading 'The Mighty Eighth - War Manual' by Roger Freeman. What caught my imagination was the section on 'Heavy Bomber Formations', describing the complex three-dimensional formation needed to get hundreds of aircraft together in the correct place, so close that they could protect each other against enemy fighters but so co-ordinated that falling bombs did not hit lower aircraft. The complexity also helps explain why there were so many accidents during training.
The airfield plans at the end of the book are also very interesting, especially for anyone who has visited some of the sites.
Added the page 'Missions and Losses'.
The website was updated, including:
Addition of a calendar of M8 related events
Addition of a contact form so that supporters can request email updates and events
Addition of a page for research and comment article
Working on the video for Tibenham airfield, I was browsing the details of Mighty 8th missions. Its so easy to let the details wash over you without fully recognising their import. Then the numbers penetrated this mental 'fog' and stopped me in my tracks. Almost 2000 planes involved on just one mission. Stunning. Have a look at this screenshot from the 445th BG website
A visit to Duxford in September 2017. On the basis that a picture tells a thousand words, here are twelve pictures that are definitely more interesting than 12,000 words.
Just up the road from Duxford (just 10 miles away) is the Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial. It serves as a stark, and humbling, reminder of the price the USA paid in helping to defeat the Nazis.
To gain an excellent perspective on the scale and dignity of the cemetery, view it on Google satellite or similar.
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