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Earls Colne Airfield Nissen Huts in what appears to be Site No. 13, Buildings 501 (foreground) and 500 on the right. In the chapter of his book "Brave Men"entitled "The Flying Wedge ", Ernie Pyle, the famous war correspondent that brought the war home to anxious families and friends, describes a Nissen hut with wooden signs outside of its door. Each of the signs, he wrote, represented one of the occupants of the Officers' Quarters. Pyle noted that because dogs were such a big part of the airmen of the 456th Bomb Squadron's lives, they included a sign for each of the dogs and pups that inhabited the huts with them. The photograph from the Collection of Lt. Col. Walt Foster, appears to be possibly of the Nissen hut and signs that Pyle described. Before including the story of his time with the 456th in his book, Pyle had written a newspaper column describing his two weeks with the 456th Bomb Squadron in Earls Colne, Essex in May 1944. Pyle spent one week living with the officers of one Nissen jut shared by Capt. William "Chief" Collins, Lt. Jack "Red Dog" Arnold, Lt. Frank Burgmeier and two or three other officers. Pyle describes two holes in the ceiling of the Nissen hut and how they got there. One of the officers, likely Chief Collins, was fired up and decided to discharge his service revolver through the ceiling. Then, he bet one of the other officer's he couldn't shoot a bull through the same hole, which turned out to be a good bet.



  • 323rd Bomb Group

    323rd Bomb Group

    The 323rd Bombardment Group operated with B-26 Marauders, American medium bombers. They were the first Eighth Air Force Group to fly a medium level bombing mission with this aircraft on 16 July 1943. After flying a total of 33 missions with the Eighth,...

  • 456th Bomb Squadron

    456th Bomb Squadron

    Selected Bibliography of Publications: ...


  • Jack Arnold

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Bombardier B-26 Marauder
    Jack T. Arnold, born December 7, 1921 in Dupo, Illinois. Graduated from East High in East St. Louis, Illinois, received a first alternate appointment to West Point and enlisted in the U.S. Army Infantry. Immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor, he...

  • Frank Burgmeier

    Military | First Lieutenant | Navigator - B-26 Marauder
    Lt. Burgmeier grew up in Upstate New York. He married his wife, Tedi, in July 1943, just days before he left for his tour of duty as a navigator for the 323rd Bombardment Group. He kept a diary, which has been invaluable to historians studying the...

  • William Collins

    Military | B-26 Marauder Pilot
    Mentioning Chief Collins to any member of the 456th BS elicited an immediate smile and chuckles. "He was a character!" according to, it seems, everyone. Hands down, Chief Collins is one of the most endearing members of the 456th. He combined a sense...

  • Walter Foster

    Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Bombardier
    Lt. Walt Foster was a navigator and bombardier from Upstate New York who served with the 456th BS during the Second World War. His first combat mission was flown from Earls Colne Airfield on February 3, 1944 to the Ruisseville "No Balls” secret weapon...


  • Earls Colne

    Military site : airfield
    Earls Colne was built in 1941 as an airfield for No.3 Group, RAF Bomber Command, although never used as such. Assigned to the US Eighth Air Force (as Station 358) in 1942, its 36 hardstands were increased to 50, bringing the airfield up to Air Ministry...


Date Contributor Update
07 October 2018 20:38:27 JMF Changes to caption

JMF - After further study of the grouping of huts for officers' quarter in Site No. 13 at ECA, I believe these are huts 501 and 500.

Date Contributor Update
19 September 2018 21:09:45 JMF Changes to caption

JMF- Post-war accounts of Frank Burgmeier

Date Contributor Update
19 September 2018 21:04:12 JMF Created entry with collection, caption, unit associations, person associations and place associations

JMF - Private Collection. See also, Site Plan for Earls Colne Airfield and Brave Men by Ernie Pyle. There's also an account of the holes in the ceiling in Marauder Men byMaj. Gen. John O. Moench.