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James Good Brown


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 crash before arranging the funerals. On the back of one image he wrote: ‘A man who gave all he had…’ On another: ‘One minute alive, one minute dead.’ James would go on to write a history of his bomb group calling it ‘not so much a book as a testament to both the living and the dead, lest we forget.’ He died on Christmas Day 2008, at the age of 107.


Units served with

  • 381st Bomb Group

    381st Bomb Group

    The 381st Bomb Group flew B-17 Flying Fortresses from Ridgewell, Essex between June 1943 and April 1945. The Group was awarded two Distinguished Unit Citations, the first for bombing shipyards at Bremen, whilst under heavy attack, on 8 October 1943 and...

  • Headquarters (381st Bomb Group)


  • 42-38102

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 13/12/43; Gr Island 27/12/43; Presque Is 10/1/44; Assigned 457BG Glatton 26/1/44; transferred 532BS/381BG [VE-A] Ridgewell 11/3/44; crashed on take off to Frankfurt on first mission 24/3/44, at Bailey Hill Farm, Birdbrook, Ex, two...

Associated Place

  • Ridgewell

    Military site : airfield
    Built during 1941-42 as an RAF bomber station, Ridgewell operated as a satellite to RAF Stradishall until May 1943. It had three concrete runways, initially 36 pan hardstandings, and two dispersed T2 hangars. Taken over by the Eighth Air Force in June...

  • American Air Museum

    Other location


Event Location Date


Date Contributor Update
14 August 2018 13:13:24 general ira snapsorter Changes to biography

American Air Museum text from displays.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:14:25 AAM AAM ingest

Chaplains Board; 381st Bomb Group Memorial Association, March 1999, / Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia