Category Archives: Online Resources

Posts drawing attention to other web arrondissements

New eMagazines available!

By Danielle Prostrollo

In addition to the collection of physical periodicals in our collection, Norfolk Library and Information Service subscribe to some digital editions of American magazines. Recently, they have added Newsweek and National Geographic subscriptions to the list.

To view both the most recent issue and back issues, you can visit the links below:

Newsweek

newsweek

National Geographic

natgeo

While everyone has become more comfortable with the idea of the eBook, the digital edition of print magazines remains less common, but digital editions are a great way to stay up to date on your favorite publications while on the go! You can access these on your PC or Mac, tablet, or smart phone. You can browse the whole collection here

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Airfield in Focus: Rackheath (467th Bomb Group)

In this series of posts, we will be featuring a different 2nd Air Division airfield and bomb group from World War II. In this post, the airfield in focus is Rackheath, home of the 467th Bomb Group.

Rackheath Airfield is situated 5 miles NE of Norwich. It was the most easterly and therefore the nearest to Germany of all British wartime airfields

In February/March 1944, the 467th Bomb Group moved in with 58 B-24 Liberators. They were commanded by Colonel Albert J Shower, who was the only group commander to stay with the same group from beginning to the end of the war. He achieved the rank of Colonel at age thirty-one, one of the youngest Colonels in the Air Corps.

They flew their first mission against Bourges airfield in France, on April 10th 1944. They were a top-notch group, leading the 8th Air Force in bombing accuracy, and set a 2nd Air Division record by completing their first 100 missions in only 140 days. Witchcraft, a B-24 Liberator of the Group (and a model of which can be seen in the library entrance), held the record for the most combat missions for this type of bomber in the 8th Air Force (flying 130 missions).

Crew of a B-24 Liberator bomber

By the end of combat, the 467th Bomb Group had logged the following numbers:

  • Flown 212 missions
  • 5,105 aircraft attacked targets in Germany or German-held territory
  • Dropped 13,353 tons of bombs
  • Flown 35,537 hours of operational flying time.
  • Lost 49 aircraft, of which 29 were missing in action
  • Used 160 combat B-24 planes.

Rackheath Airfield & 467th Bomb Group Facts:

  • The aircraft stationed here were given the nickname ‘The Rackheath Aggies.’ It’s rumoured that the name came from local village resident Mrs Aggie Curtis, who had a reputation for being a lively resident. It is also rumored that the name came from a Texas football team.
  • By the end of the war over 5,000 men and women had been stationed at Rackheath.
  • Group commander Colonel Albert J Shower’s nickname was ‘Black Al’ and was described as a “strict disciplinarian” who believed in shiny shoes and strict dress code.
  • The famous Witchcraft was one of the last aircraft to leave Rackeath. She went on a tour of America to promote the sale of war bonds, but it is reported that (like the majority of wartime aircraft) she was scrapped and sold for next to nothing, the buyers making more money from the petrol they siphoned from her tanks than what they paid for the entire aircraft.

[Source: David H. Kibble-White’s readable and informative book The Rackheath Aggies]

Flag Ceremony Rackheath 12th April 1944. Source: The 467th Archive

After the War

After completing their final mission on April 25th 1945, the 467th BG returned to the USA in July 1945, and Rackheath returned to more peaceful uses with the help of the St Ives Sand & Gravel Company. The technical site was later adapted for light industry, which still flourishes as the Rackheath Industrial Estate, with many new buildings added in recent years. The control tower has been restored, and is used as office premises. There is a memorial plaque dedicated to the 467th Bomb Group near the village sign on Salhouse Road, next toto Holy Trinity Church.

All sites are now private property and permission must be obtained prior to visiting. Please contact Memorial Library staff.

A B-24 Liberator of the 467th Bomb Group flies over Berlin during a mission. Source: The American Air Museum

Further Information

Books

Bodle, Peter. The 467th Bomb Group in Norfolk : a pictorial history of the USAAF’s 467th Bombardment Group at Rackheath, during WWII. Stoke Ferry : Liberator Publishing, 2010

Healy, Allen. The 467th Bombardment Group, September 1943 – June 1945. Healy, Allan 5th ed.. 467th Book Group, 2008

Kibble-White, David H. The Rackheath Aggies. Banham, Norwich, Norfolk: Erskine Press, 2001.

Watts, Perry. The famous B-24 “Witchcraft”: the enchanted Liberator : a unique U.S. bomber’s experience during WWII. Atglen : Schiffer Publishing, 2015

Websites

467th Bomb Group (Official Website)

Norfolk’s American Connections

The 467th Archive

American Air Museum in Britain

The Mighty Eighth American Air Force

East Anglia Film Archive

Be sure to also check out our post on Attlebridge Airfield (466th Bomb Group).

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Filed under Books, Local Interest, Online Resources, World War 2

New 2nd Air Division E-book Collection

The 2nd Air Division Memorial Library has a new selection of e-books available! These titles are on loan through the digital library website at digitallibrary.norfolk.gov.uk.

You must also be a member of the library to borrow any of the e-books and you can join by going to Norfolk Library Joining Page.

Browse through titles such as Liberator and The Mighty Eighth in WWII

Cover of LiberatorCover of The Mighty Eighth in WWII

This new collection aims to make more of our books accessible to the public and we look forward to expanding our digital selection in the future.

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Join us if you dare, for a Halloween scare!

 

MemHalloween

Halloween is one of the largest secular holidays celebrated in the U.S. Although officially celebrated on the 31st of October, most Americans are spellbound by the frightful festivities come October 1st–pumpkin patches begin to sprout in the parking lots of local grocery stores, spiderweb decorations begin to deck the hallways of homes and weekly television programs honor viewers with a Halloween special. This year the Memorial Library is also getting into the Halloween spirit so come trick or treating to the Memorial Library on Halloween and design your own pumpkin, listen to some spooky stories, and write your own ghostly poem.

For those looking for more frightful fun and folly in the city, here are some other ways to get involved in the bewitching season. Remember, it’s just a bunch of Hocus Pocus!

1. Enjoy Spooky City Halloween Fun at the Forum

In the run up to All Hallow’s Eve there’s plenty of half-term fun available for families at both The Forum and Millennium Library. Inside The Forum, children are invited to join free craft workshops and hear a traditional story teller tell spooky tales. Also watch our artist work wonders on some large pumpkins, grown here in Norwich by White House Farm. The Spooky City parade on All Hallow’s Eve is your chance to dress to impress – or to terrify! Enjoy the dancing, live music, street entertainers and the ghostly surprises lurking in the shop doorways! The parade starts at Norwich Castle at 6.30pm on Fri 31 Oct and makes its way to The Forum via Castle Green, Farmer’s Avenue, Timberhill, Red Lion Street, Gentleman’s Walk and Hey Hill. More information can be found on the website.

2. Take a Norwich Ghost Walk

The Norwich Ghost Walks take you to many famous places around the city noted for their strange events. Apart from experiencing first hand the amazing architectural elements and history of this fine city, you will be regaled with its more macabre side of tragic events & local stories. There is even a Halloween Special for those of the more brave-hearted nature. The Ghost Walks have been happening since 1998 and the Man in Black, the tour guide, is a true Norwich gem.  All tours start from the Adam and Eve Pub. See the website for more details. http://www.ghostwalksnorwich.co.uk/first.html

 3. Decorate a Pumpkin

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Pumpkin carving or decorating is a staple part of the Halloween experience.The pumpkin, or Jack-O-Lantern—the name for a carved pumpkin—has become one of the more familiarized symbols of Halloween. The American tradition of carving pumpkins is recorded as early as 1837. You can collect a pumpkin at your local shop or the Norwich Market and browse some of our craft books for some inspiration. Here’s one to get you started. You can reserve a copy on the online catalog here.

 

4. Eat, Drink & Be Scary with a Haunted Pub Crawl

Norwich boasts being one of the most haunted cities in England. Conveniently for the pint enthusiast, many of these spectral sightings have happened at many of the local pubs. Why not organize a pub crawl around the cities most famously haunted pubs. Here are a few to get you going:

  • The Adam & Eve Pub. Located on Bishopbridge, the Adam and Eve is dated at 1249, making it “probably” the oldest pub in Norwich. The pub has been known for its ghosts, since 1549. The main ghost,  nicknamed Sam, is thought to be Lord Sheffield. Sheffield died during Robert Ketts rebellion. Unaware of the ritual of surrender–of which Sheffield did–Ketts men fatally wounded Sheffield with a cleaver.  He was immediately taken to the A&E, or the Adam and Eve Pub, where he died.
  • The Maids Head Hotel. There have been numerous spooky sightings at the Maids Head Hotel, which has a history dating back to the 13th century. A woman dressed in grey, believed to be a former maid, has been seen roaming the hotel hallways followed by the smell of musty lavender, a scent often used to hide the smell of the plague or buried.
  • The Gardener’s Arms/ Murderer’s Pub. Dating back to 1696, the Murderer’s Pub, also known as the Gardener’s Arms, boasts two tales of murder.  Philip Cutter, the pub’s owner discovered that the pub earned its gruesome nick-name from a murder that was committed by an ex-cavalryman, Frank Miles, who killed his estranged wife, Mildred (Millie) in June 1895 upon seeing her enter the pub with another man. Frank was tried and convicted to hang for his crime. Contemporary newspaper articles from 1895 are available on the walls of the pub for further reading. Learn more by visiting the pub’s website. http://www.themurderers.co.uk/norwich-pub-history.html
  • Lollards Pit Pub. Located on Riverside and built between 1620 and 1670, the pub was the site of execution for heretics and other offenders during the 15th and 16th Centuries. The pub’s cellar was a holding cell to hold prisoners (recently discovered) before they were burned at the stake. The bodies were put into the pit, which is located in the garden. Screams have been heard in the pub and are thought to be of the prisoners, witches and heretics.

5. Treat Yourself to Some Horrifying Tales!

There’s nothing quite like reading a great scary story. From Edgar Allan Poe to Bret Easton Ellis, the Memorial and Millennium Library has a spectacular selection of America’s greatest horrifying tales. Beware however, for it is not all concentrated in the fiction section. Come and explore the bizarre, the unexplained and dare we say supernatural side of American literature, film, crime and history. Here are just a few to get you started, all of which can be found and reserved on our online catalog:

 

If the horror genre is not quite right for you, you can still get into the Halloween spirit by reading about the masterminds behind some of America’s most famous fright fest films and novels.

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Hitchcock,_Alfred_02

 

 

 

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Filed under American Culture, Books, Local Interest, Memorial Library, Online Resources, Public Events