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Report - - RAF Polebrook 16.10.06 | Military Sites |

Report - RAF Polebrook 16.10.06

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After a bit of a tip off from OT a couple of months ago and a recce with Madmax... myself & Tims both had a day off and decided to go and finish the place off.

First we managed to find the Battle Bunker, which was a two teired affair, very simular to RAF Swinderby but unfortunately the lower level was half filled with water :( Next onto two different sorts of pill-boxes, a single gun level and a double version.

Back round via the Thor Missle launch site onto the USAF WW2 heavy bomber hangers and finishing off in some very old barracks and canteen... with original wartime graffiti.

A brief History:
The story of the 351st Bomb Group, 1st Air Division of the 8th Air Force is a story of heroism and sacrifice during World War II.

The 351st was formed in November, 1942 at Geiger Field near Spokane, Washington. Four squadrons of B-17 Flying Fortresses were established and designated the 508th, 509th, 510th and 511th. Lt. Colonel William A. Hatcher was named commanding officer. After training in the western United States for about five months, in April, 1943, the various units of the Group embarked for England. The base occupied was near the hamlet of Polebrook in East Anglia and was known as Station 110.

The Group's first completed combat mission took place on May 14th, 1943, when 18 B-17's targeted a German airfield in Belgium. Its final mission of World War II, the Group's 320th, took them to Brandenburg, Germany where the target was marshaling yards. The actual number of missions credited totaled 311. The 351st lost 175 B-17's and their crews. Among those lost are two men who were awarded, posthumously, the Medal of Honor. Lt. Walter E. Truemper and S/Sgt. Archibald Mathies heroically attempted to land a badly damaged B-17 to save the life of its severely wounded pilot who was unable to bail out. Sadly, both were killed in the attempted landing near the base at Polebrook.

Gunners of the 351st were credited with the destruction of 303 enemy aircraft during combat operations 1943 -1945. A total of 6913 men were on the rolls of the 351st between November, 1942 and June, 1945. A number of these were important ground force personnel who spent the entire war in England. Combat crews were rotated home if they survived 25 missions, later 30 then finally 35 missions.

Commanding officers of the 351st Bomb Group are as follows:
Colonel. Hatcher (Nov. 1942 - 31 Dec. 1943)
Colonel. Eugene Romig (3 Jan. 1944 - 12 Oct. 1944)
Colonel. Robert Burns (12 Oct. 1944 - 30 Mar. 1945)
Colonel. Merlin Carter (30 Mar. 1945)

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Control Tower History:
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351st Bomb Group History: