The children, grandchildren and widows of the US airmen who flew out of Horham during WW2 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.
The welcome meal at the Red Feather Club was a traditional English Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, and decorations, to commemorate the fact that one of the abiding memories of many villagers are the Christmas parties thrown by the 95th for local children.
Their stay also included a 1940s dance at the Red Feather Club, with the association’s in-house band Skyliner, and a jeep tour to neighbouring Parham Airfield Museum culminating in a tearful wreath-laying ceremony (pictured) at the memorial to the ten men lost when one of the 95th Bomb Group’s B-17s crashed in neighbouring Redlingfield.
USAF personnel from RAF Mildenhall joined in the reunion and provide an honour guard and colour party for a ceremony to lay a wreath at the memorial in Horham village and a service at St Mary’s church. There was a traditional cream tea with smartly uniformed ‘Nippies’ – mirroring the waitresses from WW2-era Lyons Corner Houses – rounded off with a sing-a-long of wartime classics including an emotional rendition of We’ll Meet Again.
The reunion, organised by 95th Bomb Group Heritage Association committee members Linda Woodward from Stradbroke and Beverley Abbott from Redlingfield, also included a trip to Holkham Hall and a Suffolk coastal tour with a trip to Dunwich for fish and chips.