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American Air Museum

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Detailed history

The American Air Museum at IWM Duxford stands as a memorial to the 30,000 American airmen who gave their lives flying from UK bases during the Second World War, and also honours those who fought in Korea, Vietnam, Libya, Iraq and other conflicts and battles of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

This outstanding example of contemporary British architecture by Foster and Partners houses the largest collection of US historic military aircraft in Europe, including a vintage B-17 Flying Fortress, B-24 Liberator, B-25 Mitchell, P-47 Thunderbolt, and aircraft from the Cold War era such as a B-52 Stratofortress, SR-71 Blackbird and F-4 Phantom.

The museum opened in 1997, was rededicated in 2002. In 2015 it underwent a redevelopment that saw the glass wall come down and the aircraft taken out for conservation work and redisplayed.

The newly transformed American Air Museum reopened in March 2016.



  • Peggy Albertson

    Civilian | Land Girl
    Peggy was born in London, and during the Second World War did war work in factories and then on farms as a member of the Women’s Land Army. She fell in love with and married an American airman – Joe Albertson. After the war, she went with other ‘GI...

  • Vernon Alexander

    Military | Captain | Pilot | 493rd Bomb Group
    Gayle flew with the 493rd Bomb Group, based at Debach in Suffolk. A native of Kentucky, he flew both B-24 and B-17 bombers in combat. He and his crew named their B-24 ‘Kentucky Kloudhopper’. On his 19th mission, a raid against Merseberg, his B-17 was...

  • John Anusewicz

    Military | First Sergeant (1st Grade) | P-47 Thunderbolt - Armourer | 48th Fighter Group
    John was 18 when he joined up. He became an armourer with the 48th Fighter Group of the Ninth Air Force. He was responsible for preparing P-47 Thunderbolts before they took off on missions from their temporary airfields in France. ‘I know when you are...

  • John Askins

    Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    First Lieutenant John Askins was a pilot with the 91st Bomb Group (Bassingbourn), flying B-17 44-6093. Askins was shot down over Westeroden and taken prisoner on November 2 1944 and interred in Stalag Luft VIIA. ...

  • Henry Boswell

    Military | Major | Paratrooper
    Duke had one of the most dangerous jobs in the army: he was a paratrooper. He enlisted aged 16 and became a paratrooper in 1942. He carried out four combat jumps – in Sicily, Italy, Normandy and Holland. ‘Your plane might get hit before you get there....

  • William Bridgers

    Military | Doctor
    Dr. William Bridgers (front row, centre) was a neurosurgeon who worked with the 65th General Hospital in England. This US Army unit, made up of staff from Duke University Medical Center, North Carolina, treated nearly 50,000 men in 22 months. Shifts...

  • James Brown

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Chaplain | 381st Bomb Group
    James was a chaplain with the 381st Bomb Group based at Ridgewell, Essex. He was responsible for the welfare of the airmen, and also corresponded with the relatives of men who died. On 24 May 1944 James had to document and photograph the scene of a...

  • Ethel Cerasale (nee Carlson)

    Military | Nurse
    Ethel Cerasale was a nurse who decided to help the war effort by joining the American Red Cross. ...

  • Francis Chinard

    Military | Doctor
    Medical doctor Francis Chinard joined the US Army in 1943. One of his jobs in the UK involved demonstrating to crews the effects of lack of a oxygen on the brain, to persuade them of the importance of using their oxygen masks. This involved taking...

  • James Crouch

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Waist Gunner and Togglier | 398th Bomb Group
    James was a ‘togglier’ and gunner with the 398th Bomb Group, based at Nuthampstead, responsible for dropping his aircraft’s bombs. The USAAF had begun to use a method that relied on only one of the aircraft aiming its bombs. The other aircraft had ...

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Date Contributor Update
28 September 2014 20:04:16 Lucy May Created entry with name, latitude, longitude, history and person associations