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Page 105 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


  • Wilmont Grodi

    Military | Lieutenant | Pilot
    Shot down 29 July 1943 in B-17 Ditched . Returned to base. Shot down 24 August 1943 in B-17 #4230364. Evaded.

  • Harold Jordan

    Military | Captain | Pilot
    Flew on 'Piccadilly Queen', 25 missions Air Medal w 4/Oak Leaf Cluster; DFC and other medals


  • 42-30354 Hustlin' Hussy

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 23/5/43; Smoky Hill 2/6/43; Gr Isle 3/6/43; Dow Fd 20/6/43; Assigned 549BS/385BG [XA-X] Gt Ashfield 1/7/43; Missing in Action Frankfurt 29/1/44 with Ralph H. Palmer, Navigator: William Powell, Flight engineer/top turret gunner:...

  • 42-31349 Stars & Stripes “2nd Edition”

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 23/10/43; Gr Island 8/11/43; Memphis 14/11/43; Assigned 388BG Knettishall 27/11/43; transferred 550BS/385BG [SG- ] Gt Ashfield 28/11/43; Missing in Action Rostock 24/2/44 with Capt Clarry McIlveen, Co-pilot: John Lapczynsky,...

  • 42-5892 Pregnant Portia

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Long Beach 25/4/43; Gore Fd 1/5/43; Kearney 30/5/43; Dow Fd 17/6/43; Assigned 551BS/385BG [HR-B] Gt Ashfield 18/6/43; Missing in Action Regensburg 17/8/43 with John Keeley, crew unknown (10 Returned to Duty); damaged in fighter attacks,...


  • 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 10:32:17 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.