A TRIBUTE TO THE AMERICAN BOMBER CREWS OF THE US 8th AIR FORCE
As for the American bomber crews, they were the bravest of the brave, and I know that I am speaking for my own bomber crews when I pay this tribute.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur “Bomber” Harris
The winter of 1944 / 45 wasn’t the coldest ever recorded in England but it came close. The weather was bitter and, in what would turn out to be the last Christmas of the war, temperatures plunged across the country, bringing ice, freezing fog and deep banks of drifting snow.
Airfields across East Anglia stood bleak and frost-bound, runways kept clear of snow when conditions allowed, whilst the heavy bombers of the US Eighth Air Force remained under wraps, engines oiled, warmed and ready for any break in the banks of murky fog that would allow them to fly. And when those breaks came, the bombers were back in action ready to play their part in the final destruction of Hitler’s Third Reich. The end game was rapidly approaching and both sides knew it.
The Eighth Air Force flew its final bomber operations of the war on 25 April 1945, the last of 968 combat missions involving over 523,000 sorties; they had dropped some 700,000 tons of bombs, inflicting destruction on a scale from which the enemy could never recover. Yet the cost of the victory in which they had played such a major part made for sober reading; they had lost some 6,130 bombers and fighters along with some 47,000 casualties, including more than 26,000 dead – half of the entire US Army Air Force losses during the conflict.
Earning the nickname “The Bloody Hundredth” due to the heavy losses they suffered, the print personally signed by ten veterans who served with the 100th Bomb Group :
Captain ROBERT SHOENS
First Lieutenant JOHN CLARK
First Lieutenant JAMES RASMUSSEN
Lieutenant Colonel HENRY “HANK” CERVANTES
Major JOHN “LUCKY” LUCKADOO
Staff Sergeant LEWIS PAYNE
Staff Sergeant ALBERT ARREOLA
Staff Sergeant ALBERT FREITAS
Staff Sergeant LEWIS HERRON
Staff Sergeant JOE URICE
This commending print has been conservation framed in our studios to create a historic collectors piece.