Children, grandchildren and widows of the US airmen who flew out of Horham during the Second World War were part of a 25-strong group of American visitors hosted by the 95th Bomb Group Heritage Association for a week-long reunion.
The visitors from across the US, including seven visiting for the first-time and Jackie DeHart — the widow of tail gunner S/Sgt Ted DeHart — were treated to a warm welcome by association regulars and locals who remember the Americans being at Horham.
A traditional English Christmas dinner was the welcome meal, with all of the trimmings and decorations, which was done to commemorate that one of the abiding memories of many villagers are the festive parties thrown by the 95th for local children.
A 1940s dance was held at the Red Feather Club during the stay, featuring the association’s in-house band Skyliner, as well as a jeep tour to neighbouring Parham Airfield Museum. A wreath-laying ceremony, described as “tearful”, was held at the memorial to the ten men lost when one of the 95th Bomb Group’s B-17s crashed in Redlingfield.
James Mutton, chairman of the 95th Bomb Group Heritage Association, said: “These events are really a celebration of the 95th Bomb Group family. It is a family which stretches from this little corner of Suffolk across the Atlantic to United States and encompasses all those involved with the 95th.
“It is always a privilege to host the families of the men who sacrificed so much for us during World War Two and to see many old friends and make new ones. The success of the reunion was a testament to the hard work of everyone involved, not only Beverley Abbott and Linda Woodward, who organised everything, but also all the volunteers and members who helped out in so many different ways.”