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Page 116 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...

  • 550th Bomb Squadron
  • 551st Bomb Squadron


  • Wayne Horr

    Military | Captain | Pilot

  • Frank Walls

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Pilot/Co-Pilot
    Flew on B-17 'Shack Bunny' He represented the 385th on the 45th anniversary of the 'Food-Drop' missions to Holland.


  • 42-30197 Mission Belle

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 27/4/43; Gt Falls 6/5/43; Kearney 29/5/43; Dow Fd 13/6/43; Assigned 549BS/385BG [SG-M] Gt Ashfield 14/6/43; Missing in Action Rostock 11/4/44 with Duane Pangle, Co-pilot: Onner Davis, Navigator: Sam Kaiser, Bombardier: Bob Brisebois,...

  • 42-30251 Piccadilly Queen

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 6/5/43; Denver 8/5/43; Gt Falls 13/5/43; Kearney 29/5/43; Dow Fd 13/6/43; Assigned 549BS/385BG [XA-T] Gt Ashfield 14/6/43; damaged in base explosion 3/9/43; Missing in Action Frankfurt 29/1/44 with Ray Notestein, Flight engineer/top...


  • 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 10:38:34 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.