Historic aircraft pay tribute to WWII American airmen in poignant tour from IWM Duxford

By Culture24 Reporter | 27 May 2013

Imperial War Museum Duxford's commemoration of the American airmen who fought from British soil during World War Two took a nostalgic turn on bank holiday Monday with a commemorative formation flypast of American airfields.

a photo of historic wartime fighter planes inlcuding a Spitfire and Mustang lined up at an airfield
The historic Eagle Squadron includes a Supermarine Spitfire Mk I, Republic P-47G Thunderbolt and North American P-51C Mustang.© IWM
The Eagle Squadron, comprising a Hawker Hurricane X, Supermarine Spitfire Mk I, Republic P-47G Thunderbolt and North American P-51C Mustang Princess Elizabeth, flew out of Duxford alongside B-17 Flying Fortress Sally B to commemorate the legendary fighter and bomber aircraft flown by men of the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF).

Flying among them in the Mustang two-seater was the United States Army Air Forces veteran Clarence ‘Bud’ Anderson, who flew a P-51 Mustang called ‘Old Crow’ from RAF Leiston in Suffolk - one of several airfields visited on the flypast.

A ‘triple ace’, Anderson flew his P-51 through 116 missions and shot down 16 enemy aircraft without being hit by enemy fire during two combat tours with the 363rd Fighter Squadron of the 357th Fighter Group. The 357th shot down 609 enemy aircraft in only 15 months; a tally unequaled by any other USAAF Fighter Group.

He returned to the United States in February 1945 with the rank of Captain and continued in military service for more than 30 years.

The flying tour, which visited 12 locations associated with the American Air Forces in World War II, took in several historic locations including RAF Mildenhall, RAF Debden and Cambridge American Cemetery where a memorial ceremony will take place.

It followed an appearance by the Eagle Squadron at the Duxford Spring Airshow (see photos below) which began the flying season at the historic base by commemorating the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the American air forces to RAF Duxford during the Second World War.

IWM Duxford is also hosting a photographic exhibition revealing the experiences of American service personnel in England during World War II.

More pictures:

a photo of four pilots with an older man standing central
Eagle Squadron pilots with US veteran Bud Anderson.© IWM

a photo of historic aeroplanes lined up on an airfield
P-47 Thunderbolt and P-51 Mustang line up on IWM Duxford’s historic airfield© IWM

a photo of a static spitfire with a Hurricane flying above
Hawker Hurricane overflies the Supermarine Spitfire, its Eagle Squadron markings clearly showing© IWM

photo of a man jumping from the wing of a plane
Pilot Paul Bonhomme steps off the Hawker Hurricane© IWM

a photo of the red arrows display team flying with four propeller planes
The Eagle Squadron flies in formation with the Red Arrows© IWM

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