UPCOMING 384TH BOMB GROUP REUNION
The 384th Bomb Group, Inc. will have a reunion at the Hill Aerospace Museum from May 9-13, 2001. For more information, please contact us at:
or contact the gentlemen listed at the end of the following press release.
384th BOMB GROUP INC.
EIGHTH AIR FORCE
The 384th Bomb Group, Inc. is a veterans association, which during World War II was known as the 384th Bombardment Group (Heavy), 41st Combat Wing, 1st Division, 8th Air Force, European Theater of Operations. The aircraft the Group was equipped with was the B-17, Flying Fortress.
The 384th Bomb Group, Inc. has reunions in the United States every two years and to date they have had nine (9) reunions in England; these are called "Memorial Junkets". The latest Memorial Junket was held on September 9th to September 12th, 1999 at the Swallow Hotel, Huntingdon, England
During the Junket, the Group had their traditional service at their Memorial Monument on Saturday, September 11th. The service concluded with a fly-by of a United States Air Force, C-130. On Sunday the members attended an air show at the Duxford Air Museum. Memorial Junket 9 ended with their traditional Gala Farewell Dinner Dance on Monday evening, September 12th.
The 384th Bomb Group, Inc. held its Seventeenth Reunion on August 31st to
September 3rd, 2000 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Savannah, Georgia. During the
Reunion many stories were swapped and there was a lot of memorabilia on display.
The 384th Bomb Group, Inc. has placed a duplicate copy of their Memorial Stained
Glass Window in the World War II Heritage Chapel, Museum Complex, Hill Air Force
Base, Ogden, Utah. Also just outside of the Heritage Chapel stands a copy of the Group’s
Memorial Monument. The sister Window is located in St. James the Apostle Church,
Grafton Underwood, England, and the original Monument stands at the end of the East
West Runway at Grafton Underwood, England.
It is significant for the Memorial Window and Memorial Monument to be located at Hill
Air Force Base as the 384th Bombardment Group (H) trained in B-17s at Wendover,
Utah. It is also significant for its sister Window and the Monument to be located at
Grafton Underwood, England as the 384th was stationed at Grafton Underwood, also
known as Station 106, and they flew their B-17s from there on combat missions during
World War II.
The Memorial Stained Glass Windows and Memorial Monuments are a tribute to those men who lost their lives for Freedom during World War II and to those who are no longer with us. They are a permanent Memorial to the heritage and the traditions established by the men of the 384th Bombardment Group (Heavy).
The Memorial Stained Glass Window and the Memorial Monument will be on permanent display in both the Historical World War II Heritage Chapel and the Grounds of the Hill Air Force Base Museum and in the Parish Church of St. James the Apostle and at the west end of the Runway at Station 106, for all to see who pass that way.
On May 9, 1997 a duplicate copy of the American Bell was dedicated. The bell is located in the belfry of the Heritage Chapel at the Hill Air Force Base Museum. The original American Bell was dedicated in May of 1980 and is located in St. Paul and St. Peter Parish Church, Kettering, England.
The 384th Bombardment Group (H) was amongst the most heavily decorated Air Force Groups during World War II. The first and last missions flown by the 8th Air Force during World War II were missions flown from Army Air Force Station 106, Grafton Underwood, Kettering, Northamptonshire, England. The 384th flew B-I 7s from Grafton Underwood between June 22, 1943 and April 25,1945. The B-17s of the 384th dropped 22,415 tons of bombs on targets in Germany, Poland, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, and France during their 316 combat missions flown from Station 106, Grafton Underwood, England.
The Air Crews considered themselves very lucky if they survived their missions and were able to join the "Happy Warriors Club". Sometimes a single B-17 in a formation was subjected to dozens of ME-109s or FW-190 German fighter attacks. At times the Anti-Aircraft Flak was described as, "So Thick You Could Get Out And Walk On It".
The Group lost 159 B-17s and 1625 men, of whom 1579 men were lost on combat
missions. Enemy aircraft accounted for by the 384th included 165 aircraft destroyed, another
34 probable, and 116 damaged.
The men of the Group earned three Distinguished Service Crosses; fifteen Silver
Stars; over 1000 Distinguished Flying Crosses; hundreds of Purple Hearts; and over
5000 Air Medals. In addition, six ground crew members were awarded the Legion
of Merit, and others received the Bronze Star. For the Group's efforts they received
Distinguished Unit Citations for missions flown on January 11, 1944 and on April 24,
Many Memorials for the 384th Bombardment Group (H), 8th Air Force, have been established, both in the United States and in England.
Memorials In England
At Station 106, Grafton Underwood, Kettering, Northamptonshire, England, a Memorial Monument, Time Capsule, and the Memorial Avenue of Trees were dedicated on October 5, 1985. The original Memorial Monument was dedicated on September25, 1977. It had to be replaced because of damage done by the severe
English weather. A plaque for the Memorial Avenue of Trees was dedicated on
May 4, 1991.
At Grafton Underwood Village, a Memorial Stained Glass Window is located in St. James the Apostle Church, (Church of England). The Memorial Window shows a 384th Bomb Group B-17 returning from a combat mission flying over the White Cliffs of Dover. The Window was dedicated on May21, 1983 by the Right Reverend, The Lord Bishop of Peterborough in the Presence of Her Royal Highness, Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester.
A replica of the Group Banner along with other Memorabilia is located in the Village Hall.
In Kettering, there are hand-carved statues of St. Christopher in both St. Edwards
Parish Church, (Catholic), and St. Paul and St. Peter Parish Church, (Church of England).
The Statues were presented to the Churches in 1945 by the men of the 384th Zebra
and Officers Clubs. The Official Dedication was held on May 13,1979.
A silver chalice and paten set were presented to St. Edwards Church in memory of the men and families of the 384th Bombardment Group (H), and the American and British fighter pilots. The presentation took place on May 13, 1979. A Foundation Mass is held each May as long as St. Edwards Church is in existence.
The belfry was re-built and new Bells were installed in St. Paul and St. Peter Parish Church. One bell is called the American Bell and it's inscribed to the 384th Bombardment Group (H). The bells were commemorated on May 11, 1980.
Memorials In the United States
A Silver Chalice at St. Mary Cistercian Monastery, Ringold, Pennsylvania, near Allentown.
A "Living Tree" with a plaque, on the grounds of the Air Force Museum, Dayton, Ohio. Dedicated on August 2, 1980.
Pictures of the Memorial Stained Glass Window with plaques:
At the Pentagon,
At McConnell Air Force Base, Wichita, Kansas;
At the Heritage
Museum, Hill Air Force Base, Ogden, Utah;
And at the Air Force Academy,
Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The 384th Bomb Group, Inc. sponsors the Eagle and Fledgling Sculpture, which is awarded each year to the Outstanding Graduating Cadet in Scholastic Achievement in each Major Subject, and Military and Athletic Performance at the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado. Each year a member of the 384th Bomb Group, Inc. makes the presentation during graduation week to the Outstanding Graduate in Biological Sciences.
There is a 384th Bombardment Group (H) Plaque mounted on the Memorial Wall in the United States Air Force Academy Memorial Cemetery, Colorado. The Plaque was dedicated on May30, 1986.
A plaque mounted on a walnut base telling the history of the Group is located in the United States Air Force Academy, along with a model of one the 384th B-17 Flying Fortresses. They were presented on May 31, 1988.
A duplicate copy of the Memorial Stained Glass Window is located in the World War II Heritage Chapel, Museum Complex, Hill Air Force Base, Ogden, Utah. It is identical to
its Sister Window at Grafton Underwood, England. The Memorial Window was
dedicated on September 8, 1989.
On May 9, 1997 a duplicate copy of the American Bell was dedicated at the Heritage Chapel, Museum Complex, Hill AFB. It was made at the same foundry in England that made the original Bell.
The 384th Bomb Group, Inc. has recently placed another duplicate Memorial Monument, a model of a 384th B-17 with a ten foot wingspan. at the 8th Air Force Museum, Savannah, Georgia. The aircraft is named "Big Dog".
Soon there will be another duplicate Memorial Stained Glass Window placed in a replica of a British Church at the 8th Air Force Museum.
A leather-bound book about the 384th Bombardment Group (H), entitled "As Briefed", was first published in 1946. It contains stories and photographs, a list of Medals and Awards, and briefs about Station Units during W.W.I.I. A soft cover Addendum was published in 1974. A second edition was published in 1980 which included the Addendum and the Post-War Activities of the Group. A third edition was published in 1990 and it also includes the Addendum and the Post-War Activities of the Group.
A one-hour television documentary about the 384th Bombardment Group (H) was produced by Central Independent Television of England. It has been shown on British Television twice. It has been shown at many of our reunions and other occasions. The documentary is titled 'The Village That Met Them Again". It was filmed on location in England during Memorial Junket IV in 1983.
Perhaps the Group's proudest and most notable accomplishments have been in the Humanitarian Field. Long before the end of World War II the men of the 384th had adopted several war orphans. The Military Police played "Father Christmas" to the kids in the nearby villages. The Group flew a very special “Mission” to newly liberated Nantes, France. That time, the bomb bays of six B-17s were filled with toys and clothes for the town’s children. Delivery was in time for the French traditional gift exchange on New Years Day, 1945. The men of the 384th had contributed money, their candy rations, clothing and toys purchased in town or sent over by request from relatives and friends in the U.S.A. The money was used for clothing, soap, and other practical requirements of hospitals and orphanages, items unattainable in France. The 384th and the French Red Cross ladies had packaged all the items (sent by request to Grafton Underwood) before stowing them into the six B-17s.
That spirit is still alive today, 50 some odd years later, both in numerous projects of the Group as a whole, and in the individual commitments of its members. A prime example of this spirit is the donation of money for the restoration of St. James the Apostle Church in Grafton Underwood, England.
For any additional information about the World War II activities of the 384th Bombardment Group (H), 8th Air Force, or the Post-War activities of the 384th Bomb Group, Inc., please contact one of the following gentlemen:
Theodore Rothschild, Executive Vice-President Clerical & Finance
Board of Directors, 384th Bomb Group, Inc.
Lloyd W. Whitlow, President
Board of Directors, 384th Bomb Group, Inc.
"KEEP THE SHOW ON THE ROAD"