These photographs were taken at the American Cemetery in Normandy. Several hundred Mighty 8th casualties are buried or otherwise commemorated there.
Travellers through Liverpool Street Station pass this evocative memorial 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
This memorial 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 were taken on a visit to the ABMC* cemetery in Brittany, France.
*ABMC - American Battle Monuments Commission
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.
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.
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.
Q. In BG (H) what does the 'H' stand for?
A. Bombardment Groups were labelled according to the type of plane they flew. 'Heavy' bomb groups flew B-17 and B-24 aircraft, 'Very Heavy' flew B-29s, 'Medium' referred to B-25 and B-26 aircraft and 'Light' to A-20 and A-26 planes.
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.
Counter reset October 2nd 2017