USAAF images of B-24, A-26 & A-20 in England during WWII

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Argunners Magazine is fortunate enough to feature its readers with some beautiful images from the United States Army Air Force, taken in England during WWII. Most of the photographs depict the 458th Bombardment Group which were stationed at RAF Horsham St. Faith (USAAF designated it as Station 123), Norfolk in England during World War II. The 458th Bombardment Group, arrived at the airfield late in January 1944 from the Tonopah Army Airfield in Nevada.

The group flew its first mission on February 24, 1944 with Consolidated B-24 Liberators and its last combat mission on April 25, 1945. The group lost 65 aircraft before returning to Sioux Falls AAF, South Dakota in July 1945. Other units who were stationed at Station 123, were the 56th Fighter Group and 319th Bombardment Group. These photographs were shared by Flickr user Jeffs4653, and reproduced with permission on Argunners. I also thank user Doug Shelley and Gerry Asher for their expertise and captioning of the images.

Ron Mackay’s his excellent book Liberators over Norwich: The 458th Bomb Group (H), 8th USAAF at Horsham St. Faith 1944-1945 shares more on the unit’s history, plenty of terrific photographs from families & veterans and give you a good account of various bomb missions the unit and personnel went through.

USAAF Images

B-24H serial 42-52457 "Final Approach" (coded 7V-Q) of the 752nd Bombardment Squadron, 458th Bombardment Group

B-24H serial 42-52457 “Final Approach” (coded 7V-Q) of the 752nd Bombardment Squadron, 458th Bombardment Group at Horsham St. Faith (Station 123), UK. She went lost on April 9, 1944. All of her crew was taken POW except for one, who was Killed in Action.

Douglas A-26 Invader assigned to the 801st Bomb Group / 492d Bombardment Group

USAAF Images: Douglas A-26 Invader assigned to the 801st Bomb Group / 492d Bombardment Group

Douglas A-26 Invader assigned to the 801st Bomb Group / 492d Bombardment Group. The 801st Bomb Group was established as part of the Eighth Air Force in late March 1944 to carry out ‘Carpetbagger’ missions. These were night missions over France and other parts of occupied Europe to support resistance forces by dropping in agents, supplies and leaflets. The B-24 Liberators flown by the Group were painted black to help the crews evade detection by enemy anti-aircraft positions. On 13 August 1944, the Group was redesignated as the 492nd Bomb Group.

USAAF Images: Douglas A-20G-35-DO Havoc light bomber.

Douglas A-20G-35-DO Havoc light bomber.

Douglas A-26C-20-DT Invader medium bomber, assigned to the 856th Bomb Squadron, 492nd Bomb Group,

Douglas A-26C-20-DT Invader medium bomber (Serial no. 43-22513), assigned to the 856th Bomb Squadron, 492nd Bomb Group, 8th Air Force based in Harrington, UK. The 492nd was a B-24 Liberator group that received such heavy casualties during its daylight bombing missions that it was disbanded in the fall of 1944, but the group lived on for the rest of the war flying as a cover for the 801st Composite Group, part of the O.S.S. (Office of Strategic Services, forerunner of the CIA). The group flew nighttime missions dropping agents and supplies behind enemy lines.

Ford-built B-24J assigned to the 755th Bombardment Squadron, 458th Bombardment Group

Ford-built B-24J (serial 42-51939) assigned to the 755th Bombardment Squadron, 458th Bombardment Group at Horsham St. Faith (AAF Station 123), probably taken in the early fall of 1944. In October, it was transferred to the 753rd Bombardment Squadron; on 2 May 1945 the crew bailed out when bad weather prevented a descent to land, it crashed about 10 miles from Oxford.

B-24 Liberator from the 754th Bombardment Squadron, 458th Bomb Group of the Eight Air Force.

B-24 Liberator from the 754th Bombardment Squadron, 458th Bomb Group of the Eight Air Force.

B-24 Liberator from the 755th Bombardment Squadron, 458th Bombardment Group of the Eight Air Force.

Another B-24 Liberator from the 755th Bombardment Squadron, 458th Bombardment Group of the Eight Air Force.

B-24J Liberator from the 755th Bombardment Squadron, 458th Bombardment Group of the Eight Air Force.

B-24J Liberator from the 755th Bombardment Squadron, 458th Bombardment Group of the Eight Air Force.

B-24 "Oh Mona!" from the 755th Bombardment Squadron, 458th Bombardment Group of the Eight Air Force.

B-24 “Oh Mona!” from the 755th Bombardment Squadron, 458th Bombardment Group of the Eight Air Force.

Nose-Art from the B-24J "Our Burma", 755th Bombardment Squadron, 458th Bombardment Group of the Eight Air Force.

Nose-Art from the B-24J “Our Burma”,  755th Bombardment Squadron, 458th Bombardment Group of the Eight Air Force.

B-24J Liberator "Ten Gun Dottie", 753rd Bombardment Squadron, 458th Bombardment Group of the Eight Air Force.

B-24J Liberator “Ten Gun Dottie”, 753rd Bombardment Squadron, 458th Bombardment Group of the Eight Air Force.

USAAF Airmen, probably from the B-24 Liberator Bomb Groups, posing for the camera on the Airfield.

USAAF Airmen, probably from the B-24 Liberator Bomb Groups, posing for the camera on the Airfield.

USAAF Airmen, probably from the B-24 Liberator Bomb Groups, posing for the camera on the Airfield.

USAAF personnel enjoying a day in London, they are sitting on the Westminster Bridge, London, United Kingdom with the Thames behind them.

USAAF personnel enjoying a day in London, they are sitting on the Westminster Bridge, London, United Kingdom with the Thames behind them.

Winters Gardens in Victoria Street, Blackpool.

Winters Gardens in Victoria Street, Blackpool.

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About Author

Argunners Magazine is an independent online historian and collector's magazine, dedicated to the militaria and history of both Axis and Allied powers during the World War 1 & 2. Argunners is a central resource offering the latest militaria and war history news, journals, articles and press releases related to these themes.

3 Comments

  1. ,my late father flew 39 Operation Carpetbagger missions as Navigator of 801St/492nd BG H,in a black B24. There are some other great books about their exploits. They flew lone plane missions , at night , and had many conversions to the planes. Thank you for posting this.

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