he three ‘Overs’ is the timeless description of ‘Yanks’ in theUK. From 1942 GIs, sailors and ‘flyboys’ began to arrive inGreat Britain, they were the first of tens of thousands. Themajority of these ‘invaders’ were also
young... or did they justseem that way?By early 1946 there was hardly a trace of them, and many of theairfields and other establishments that they had inhabited lay silentor had reverted to previous uses. This relatively fleeting stay wasto have an effect that has lasted down the generations. They had animpact on the military, political, economic and social thinking, andbehaviour of the country.History has shown that the ‘Friendly Invasion’ of 1942-1945 was notto be a one-off. As the nature of the ‘Cold War’ crystallised, the basingof US military personnel in the UK became a reality again in 1948 asthe international situation degraded and the Berlin blockade heraldeda tense future. US forces have remained resident, to one degree oranother, ever since.In terms of the USAAF, the ‘Yanks’ have also left a geographic legacyin the form of the bases from which they flew. The remnants get fewerand fewer with each year, but the attraction of studying and visiting American air bases has not diminished – quite the contrary. Thenumber of museums, visitor centres, trails and memorials continuesto increase.This
special publication aims to show the diversity of USAAF and USAF operations within the UK. As well as the base-by-base, unit-by-unit detail, we aim to convey something of the ‘flavour’of the Americans in Britain and pay tribute to the men who foundthemselves ‘Over Here’.
Superb angle on a381st Bomb GroupB-17G at Ridgewell,Essex, 1944.
DICK STARINCHAKVIA WARREN E THOMPSON