Search

War memorial honours US servicemen who served at Eye Airfield during Second World War

PUBLISHED: 17:01 29 May 2016 | UPDATED: 17:01 29 May 2016

The war memorial for the United States Army Air Force 490th Bomb Group, who served at Eye Airfield during the Second World War has been dedicated. Picture: Gregg Brown.

The war memorial for the United States Army Air Force 490th Bomb Group, who served at Eye Airfield during the Second World War has been dedicated. Picture: Gregg Brown.

It has taken two years of hard work from a devoted group of local people to have a war memorial built at Eye Airfield.

History of the 490th

The 490th Bomb Group was formed in October 1943 in Utah before transferring to Idaho, for training in December until April 1944

Moved to RAF Eye in April 1944 and became part of the Third Combat Bombardment Wing

Combat missions started in June, with B-24s bombing defences in France, before and during the invasion of Normandy

Converted to B-17s in August, and operated primarily against strategic targets until February 1945

Strategic missions interrupted during the Battle of Bulge, in December 1944 and January 1945, and group tasked with attacking German supply lines and military installations

Redeployed to the US in July

Established in Florida in September 1945 and deactivated in November

490th flew 158 Missions

Dropped 13,613 tons of bombs

Dropped 89 Tons of leaflets

But under glorious sunshine and blue skies the memorial to honour the US servicemen who served in the 490th Bomb Group during the Second World War, was dedicated.

Watched by hundreds of people, the service was also attended by 92-year-old veteran Si Spiegle and relatives of some of the many thousands of men who called Eye Airfield home.

Jackie Aling, a member of the 490th Bomb Group Memorial Project who organised the memorial, said: “As you can imagine we are just very pleased. It has been such an honour to have the families come all this way. And we are just so surprised by the amount of people who have turned out.”

A poignant moment saw current US servicemen from RAF Lakenheath and Mildenhall, adorning 1940s military uniforms and walking towards the monument as the cloth was pulled away to reveal it.

490th Bomb Group veteran Si Spiegle with the memorial. Picture: Rebecca Murphy490th Bomb Group veteran Si Spiegle with the memorial. Picture: Rebecca Murphy

And as the service paused for a two minute reflection a Taylorcraft Auster flew overhead and dropped hundreds of poppies on the crowd.

The skies around north Suffolk were once used to the roars of the Flying Fortress. And once more the sound of the B-17, along with two P-15 Mustangs, echoed above Eye as a special fly past took place.

Mr Spiegle, from New York, flew 35 missions. He said the memorial service was overwhelming.

“It was just fantastic and beyond my wildest imagination,” he said. “When I first heard a monument was going to be out here I just knew I had to come. From everyone, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

The monument can be found on Progress Way near the Mid Suffolk Business Park.

For more information about the 490th Bomb Group visit http://www.490th.co.uk/

Other news

08:55

Hundreds of households have been left facing days without heating, hot water or being able to cook after damage to a gas mains pipe.

A lorry broken down on the A11 is causing delays for motorists this morning (November 13).

Yesterday, 19:30

A woman who killed an 80-year-old great-grandmother in a head-on car crash has been ordered to carry out unpaid work.

Yesterday, 14:25

Serious safety incidents led to 35 deaths at the region’s mental health trust over a six month period, figures have revealed.

Most Read

Yesterday, 19:30

A woman who killed an 80-year-old great-grandmother in a head-on car crash has been ordered to carry out unpaid work.

Read more
08:55

Hundreds of households have been left facing days without heating, hot water or being able to cook after damage to a gas mains pipe.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:54

It was the war to end all wars in which millions of people died on the battlefields of Europe and further afield. A hundred years on South Norfolk paid its respects to the fallen and marked the armistice.

Read more
St Mary's Church
Friday, November 9, 2018

A Suffolk pervert could be facing jail after uploading sick images of children online under the pseudonym ‘bbyboy’.

Read more
Ipswich Crown Court

A lorry broken down on the A11 is causing delays for motorists this morning (November 13).

Read more
Dereham

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 13°C

min temp: 8°C

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Diss Mercury e-edition today
E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Diss Mercury weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy