The United States 8th Army Air Force (USAAF) arrived in Suffolk in 1942. Between then and 1945 there were thousands of USAAF personnel stationed in the county. They included bomber and fighter groups. The impact of this Friendly Invasion was enormous, and has left many lasting links between our two countries.
Pay a visit to these air museums on The Suffolk Coast; where you can learn more about the 'Friendly Invasion' or perhaps discover an American ancestor!
Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation Museum (Flixton)
Located on the Norfolk/Suffolk border near Bungay, the museum is set near the site of the 446th Bomb Group base. Unique artefacts and personal items of those who served there are on show, plus murals from the 353rd Fighter Group base at Reydon.
There is also a building dedicated to the Royal Observer Corps and Air Sea Rescue units.
Refreshments are available from the authentic NAAFI cafe, and there is a gift shop on site where you can take home a souvenir from your visit.
For more information and for opening times, visit www.aviationmuseum.net
Parham Airfield Museum (Framlingham)
Housed within the control tower, this museum is largely devoted to the 390th Bomb Group, who referred to the base as Framlingham. As well as presenting displays relating to the Americans, this site is also home to the British Resistance Organisation Museum, telling of the secret auxiliary units trained to fight back should the Nazis succeed in occupying Britain.
As well as presenting displays relating to the Americans, this site is also home to the British Resistance Organisation Museum, telling of the secret auxiliary units trained to fight back should the Nazis succeed in occupying Britain.
For more information and opening times, visit www.parhamairfieldmuseum.co.uk
Halesworth (Holton) Airfield Museum
The 56th Fighter Group was the first outfit to be stationed at this newly built airfield, which opened in July 1942. It catered for up to 3,000 personnel. Later occupants included the 489th Bomb group.
Later occupants included the 489th Bomb group. By 1945 a rescue emergency squadron was based at the airfield, whose mission was to rescue downed aircrew from the nearby North Sea.
Airmen who went down into the sea had an estimated 30 seconds to get out of their aircraft and it is estimated that 35 percent of them were saved. RAF sea rescuers injected a little humour into the situation; they gave each man they rescued from the ‘drink’ a small, felt insignia of a fish skipping over water – proof they had joined the ‘Goldfish Club’.