In The Library: The Shrine Area

By Don Allen

The focal point of the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library is The Shrine Area, designed to reflect the human cost of war. It is here where we remember and honor those who served and died. To the left of the Shrine stands the 2nd Air Division Flag. To the right stands the 8th Air Force Flag. In the back stands the American Flag, “Old Glory”.

 

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The Shrine Area

Standing in the front of the Shrine is a map showing the locations of every Bomb Group in the 2nd Air Division.

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Map of 2nd Air Division Bases

Inside the Shrine surrounding the visitor are the banners of the Bomb Groups. At bottom right on the right hand side is a banner commemorating the service of the Women’s Army Auxillary Corps (later Women’s Army Corp).

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Notice the Bomb Group Banners along the back and sides. The ones at the back are the 492nd (top left), 93rd (bottom left), 446th (top right), and 448th (bottom right) Bomb Groups

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On the back wall stands the dedication plaque. It reads:

“This room is a living memorial to those Americans of the Second Air Division, United States Eigth Air Force who flying from bases in these parts, lost their lives defending freedom 1942-1945. ‘They gave their tomorrow for our today'”.

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Dedication Plaque

In pride of place sits the Roll of Honor, remembering all those of the 2nd Air Division who made the ultimate sacrifice. A page is turned each day that the Library is open. A copy is available at the desk for individual study, and a digital copy can be found online at the Library’s  website here.

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Roll of Honor

To all of those who served, we thank you.

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Reign of Iron- James L. Nelson

Book Review of Reign of Iron by James L Nelson

My name is Angus and I’ve recently begun work experience at the Millennium Library. Today was my first time working in the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library and I was blown away by the selection of books on offer. From Cold War planes to WW2 stories of fallen soldiers, there’s something for everyone with any interest in American history.

While helping to fill in the shelves I noticed Reign of Iron, a book about the first battling ironclads during the American Civil War. For such a significant moment in both American and global history, not nearly enough research has been done into how and why the two warring nations managed to build warships out of something other than wood. Just from reading the blurb I can tell the author knows his stuff, and I expect the whole book to be both informative and enthralling.

 

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If you’d like to check out this and other amazing books, come visit us at the Library, or click here to check out Reign of Iron online.

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In The Library: Assembly Ships

By Don Allen

Along the back wall of the library is what at first glance seems like an odd sight: brightly, dare I say garishly, painted plane models in glass display cases. Kids love them, drawn to the colors and the cases. But parents aren’t typically sure what exactly they are, as these B-24’s are clearly too brightly colored to have been effective bombers as painted.

 

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Two of the glass cased models in the Library

 

Well, for those of you who have seen them but  have no idea what they are, wonder no more. They are known as assembly ships.

 

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B-24D Liberator Assembly Ship model for the 445th out of Tibenham (Serial Number: 41-24215) alternately nick-named the “Lucky Gordon” and “Dogpatch Raider”

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Picture of “Lucky Gordon”/”Dogpatch Raider” courtesy American Air Museum in Britain. (Click here for link)

 

Assembly ships were used exactly for what their name implies, to assemble the planes in air in proper formation at the beginning of their bombing runs. These assembly ships helped the other bombers in their group get set up in the proper direction for that days mission, and their bright colors and distinct markings made it easy for the group to see where they were lining up in nearly any type of weather.

 

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B-24D Liberator Assembly Ship model for the 492nd, out of North Pickenham (Serial Number: 42-40793) nick-named “Zebra”

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Picture of “Zebra” in flight (approx. 1944-1945) courtesy of the American Air Museum in Britain. (Click here for link)

 

These aircraft were veteran planes that had deteriorated to the point that, while they could still fly, they could no longer handle the long and harsh miles required, let alone enemy flak. Most would be stripped of their guns, and when the group was in formation and headed towards their target, the assembly ship would turn around and fly back to base.

When visiting, don’t forget to look under the models for more information about the bombing group. The boxes contain two folders, with one the Roll of Honor for each Bomb Group, and the other containing scans of newspaper clippings, pictures, and correspondence regarding the group.

 

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One particularly interesting piece I found while looking through the 492nd’s Memorabilia folder was this citation from the French government, honoring the 492nd’s service.

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When translated (with Google Translate) it says: 

French Republic

War 1939-1945

Citation

Excerpt from Decision No. 332

The President of the Provisional Government of the French Republic,

Cited by the Army

-492nd Bombardment Group (H)

Magnificent unit distinguished by its gallantry, bravery and spirit of sacrifice.

During the period from January 4 to September 17, 1944, over unprotected aircraft, more than 2,000 day and night war missions over French territory still occupied, ensuring under conditions made perilous by fighter aviation and a very vigilant enemy DCA, numerous parachutes of weapons and material for the benefit of the French forces of the interior.

Thus contributed largely to the allied war effort and the Liberation of the French Territory.

These quotations include the award of the 1939-1945 war cross with palm.

Paris, September 17, 1946.

So pop in and see the assembly ships for all the bomb groups of the 2nd Air Division. The paint can be pretty, well, lets say interesting, at times. One’s even yellow with red polka dots!

 

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Which BG had this paint job? Come in and look to find out!

 

 

 

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Baedeker Raids and Norwich – 75th Anniversary

By Danielle Prostrollo

Today marks the 75th anniversary of the first Luftwaffe raid of Norwich, part of the Baedeker raids that also occurred over Canterbury, Bath, Exeter, and York. The raids got their name from the Baedeker guidebooks which noted that these cities were of great cultural and historical importance. It is commonly accepted that it was from these guides that the Germans decided which cities to strike.

In honor of the anniversary we revisit a book review written by a former American Scholar. Snelling’s book is a great resource for anyone interested in learning more about the raids and their effect on Norwich.

 

Norwich: A Shattered City by Steve Snelling

This highly informative and richly illustrated new book tells “the story of Hitler’s blitz on Norwich and its people” in 1942.

The book offers detailed accounts of the Baedeker raids that destroyed sections of Norwich, claiming 200 civilian lives. The images of the city’s familiar corners, parks, and streets register as shockingly unfamiliar in photographs from the time. Walking the beautiful, safe streets of our city today, it is hard to imagine other times.

Snelling’s book encourages Norwich’s modern citizens to pause and appreciate the city we might usually take for granted.

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