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Page 106 of the 385th Bomb Group unit history.
Many of the 8th Air Force Groups produced an unofficial unit history in the months after the war ended in Europe but before they were redeployed out of the ETO (European Theater of Operations).

Resembling a college yearbook, unit histories were an unofficial – and often tongue-in-cheek – record of the unit’s time based in the UK. They include photo montages showing different aspects of base life. Often the servicemen in the photos are unnamed. The American Air Museum hopes that by adding unit histories to the website as individual pages, the men in the photos will be identified and associated to their person entries. Many included lists of personnel and a mailing address, providing a means for servicemen to keep in contact with each other after the war. These lists are now incredibly useful records of where US airmen in England in 1945 called their home.



  • 385th Bomb Group

    385th Bomb Group

    The 385th Bomb Group, who took the nickname "Van's Valiants" after their first Commanding Officer Col. Elliot Vandevanter, flew B-17s from Great Ashfield, Suffolk. The Group led the famous attack on the Focke-Wolfe aircraft factory at Marienburg on 9...

  • 548th Bomb Squadron
  • 549th Bomb Squadron
  • 550th Bomb Squadron


  • William Jacques

    Military | Major | Pilot
    C. E. LeMay was his commander in England. DFC

  • John Pettenger

    Military | Lieutenant | Pilot
    Shot down 10 October 1943 in B-17 #426155. Prisoner of War (POW). POW

  • Paul Sommers

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot
    Killed in Action (KIA) on 'Jolly Roger' 42-5886, crashed 2 kms SW of Woehsdrecht, the Netherlands His body was found near the plane together with his navigator McClatchey

  • William Storr

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot
    B-17 #423316 'Big Stinky' crashed in to North Sea 28 July 1943. Killed in Action (KIA).

  • Norman Weider

    Military | Lieutenant | Co-Pilot
    Shot down 29 November 1943 in B-17 #4237874. Killed in Action (KIA).


  • 42-30275 The Vibrant Virgin

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 7/5/43; Gore 8/5/43; Kearney 30/5/43; Dow Fd 16/6/43; Assigned 548BS/385BG [GX-P] Gt Ashfield 17/6/43; Missing in Action Bremen 8/10/43 with Ralph Jensen, Co-pilot: Nick Ursiak, Navigator: Ray Podolske, Bombardier: Heath Stephens,...


  • Great Ashfield

    Military site : airfield
    The airfield was built in 1942 by John Laing & Son Ltd. 108,000 tons of concrete was used in its construction, creating a Class 'A' airfield suitable for heavy bombers. The 385th Bomb Group took up residence in the summer of 1943, and remained at the...


Date Contributor Update
26 April 2017 10:32:18 general ira snapsorter Created entry with collection, caption, unit associations and place associations

An original copy of the 385th Bomb Group unit history in IWM’s Roger Freeman Collection, printed in 1945.