100th Bomb Group Memorial Museum (Thorpe Abbotts)

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The airfield at Thorpe Abbotts was built between 1942 and 1943 as a satellite airfield for nearby Horham. Originally built for the Royal Air Force, it was handed over to the US Army Air Force and was known as AAF Station 139. The base was designed to the classic Class A design seen on many other airfields. Class A was the specification set for an airfield that was to be used as a heavy bomber station with three runways, 50 hard standings, two T-2 type hangars for aircraft maintenance, a bomb dump and enough accommodation to house around 2900 personnel.

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The 100th Bombardment Group (Heavy) arrived at Thorpe Abbotts on 9th June 1943. Beginning combat operations on June 22nd as part of the Eighth Air Force’s strategic bombing campaign in Europe, earning the nickname “The Bloody Hundredth” after the heavy losses incurred on eight of their missions. One such mission against Münster on 10 October 1943 saw only one aircraft return safely to Thorpe Abbotts; B-17F Rosie’s Riveters commanded by Robert Rosenthal.

The 100th BG flew 306 missions that saw them attack airfields, German industrial targets, missile sites as well as undertaking tactical missions in support of the Normandy landings on June 6th 1944, earning the unit two Distinguished Unit Citations and the French Croix de guerre.  After the cessation of hostilities in May 1945 the 100th remained for a short while before returning to the USA in December 1945. Thorpe Abbotts was transferred to the RAF in 27th June 1946 where it lay dormant eventually closing in 1956 where the land was returned to agricultural use.

 

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Housed in the original airfield control tower and surrounding buildings the 100th Bomb Group Memorial Museum is a moving testament to the Americans who came to Thorpe Abbotts in Norfolk during WW2. It tells a story common to East Anglia’s airfields but is full of the personal stories of the men who were stationed at Thorpe Abbotts and how the bomb group came to be known as the “Bloody Hundredth”.

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Common Road, Dickleburgh
Norfolk, IP21 4PH
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