I give thanks to the tens of thousands of Americans who answered the call to war, and came over here to help their British allies fight WW2. For a number of those American men, England would be the last place they lived and visited, never to return home again.
More than two million American servicemen passed through Britain during WW2, with around half a million men based with the United States Army Air Force, many of them stationed around East Anglia. Their arrival was known as the 'friendly invasion' and their final departure at the war's end was to leave such an impact on Britain and her people that shocked and surprised them, such was the effect these servicemen had. People at the time reported feeling bereft at the thought of never seeing their new friends again.
Children felt the loss of their departure too. Many children looked up at them in awe, and never forgot them, growing up over the years, telling their stories, recalling names and events, acts of kindness and the things they learnt from their new American friends. This wasn't simply war. This friendly invasion impacted upon our way of life here, and as a result, times changed - often very rapidly. They brought candy, gum and widened our traditional British culture. Children were introduced to baseball while women were shown new dances, such as the jitterbug.
|Control Tower at Kimbolton|
|B-17 Twentieth Century/Mojo Jr|
|Lt. Oswald Masoni with local girl, Barbara Deane|
Pilot: Cliff Blue
Navigator: Oswald Masoni
Flight Engineer/Top Turret: Cecil Schaffer
Radio Operator: Harry Olson
Ball Turret Gunner: Tom Sutton
Waist Gunner: John McDonough
Tail Gunner: Milton Craven
It must have been such a relief and the perfect end to the 4th July that day, yielding an even greater reason to celebrate than ever before.
Oswald Masoni, nicknamed Big Oz, also kept in touch with the man of the house at no
|379th Bomb Group: Ground crew enjoying coffee and donuts.|