Firstly, let me wish all our guests past and present a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. Today, after the misty and murky weather over the Christmas period, 2017 is greeted by beautiful sunny scenes over the Waveney valley as I look out of our office window – very promising for the year ahead.
I was browsing on the computer and noticed that there are many diverse events happening in East Anglia in the coming months and in particular our local area such as The Peddars Way Ultra Marathon at the end of January which starts at nearby Knettishall Heath – in fact we were only walking off the Christmas Dinner pounds there the other day! Also ‘Take That’ are bringing their Wonderland Tour to Carrow Road Stadium, Norwich in June.
From an historically interesting point of view, this year marks the 75th Anniversary of the “Friendly Invasion” of USAAF troops to this region. We are surrounded by ex-USAAF airfields with Fersfield, just a mile up the road, being the most notable as Operation Aphrodite, a secret plan for using stripped down war weary bombers as explosive packed, radio controlled, flying bombs was carried out from there. One such mission resulted in the death of Lt. Joseph P Kennedy Jnr, brother of future President John F Kennedy, when his plane exploded over the village of Blythburgh in Suffolk.
The 453rd Bomb Group flew 259 missions from nearby Old Buckenham airfield between December 1943 and April 1945. Both James Stewart and Walter Matthau were stationed there. This airfield is still in use and there are Memorials at both the airfield and the village hall which also has a Roll of Honour and wartime memorabilia. See http://oldbuck.com for information. Also within easy reach are many other ex-USAAF airfields such as Thorpe Abbots which has a restored control tower with the 100th Bomber group memorial and Snetterton Heath, home to the 386th Bomb Group for a few days then 96th Bomb Group. Snetterton is now a motor racing circuit but there is a war memorial window in St Andrew’s Church, Quidenham. Look at https://norfolksamericanconnections.com/the-friendly-invasion/ a very useful and interesting website.
Well, now we are going to walk off a few more pounds – this time at the close by Redgrave and Lopham Fen, while seeing how much wildlife we can spot!
Bye for now and Happy New Year!