This archive comprises a large and varied collection of documents relating to the Second Air Division, United States Army Air Force (hereafter 2nd Air Division, USAAF). They are records which veterans, their families, local people and researchers have chosen to donate to the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library, in order to preserve the history of the 2nd Air Division's presence in East Anglia, 1942-5. Most documents date from this period, but there are significant numbers of post-war documents relating, in particular, to veterans' reunions and memoirs. It should be noted that this is a commemorative collection and is not an official United States military archive, nor does it contain the official service records for individual personnel.
The archive contains many diaries, letters, photographs and memoirs relating to 2nd Air Division service personnel in their 'home from home' in Norfolk and East Anglia. A significant proportion of the records relate to the 2nd Air Division's bomb groups, as well as containing records about the 65th Fighter Wing, 2nd Air Division Headquarters and Women's Auxiliary Corps. The archive contains more records relating to the bomber crews, with relatively fewer records relating to the ground crews (who maintained the aircraft in flying condition) and affiliated support personnel (including administrators, medical staff, cooks etc.) even though they were greater in number than the combat air crews. Records relating to the ground crews are usually listed with the bomb groups in which they served. Some non-combat groups are more fully represented in the records than others. In particular, records of these groups include the 7th Photographic Reconnaissance Group, 231st and 77th Station Hospitals and the 987th Military Police Detachment.
The archive also contains some records, donated by veterans and their associates, relating more generally to wartime Norfolk. These include correspondence between veterans and local people, photographs of Norwich, local theatre programmes and guidebooks. There are also records relating to the activities of the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library, the 2nd Air Division Association, and the 2nd Air Division Memorial Trust. However, for business records of the Memorial Trust, please see catalogue reference SO 247.
As well as personal papers, there are copies of some official operational records, mainly movement orders, crew lists, unit citations, flight plans, navigation charts and copies of some mission reports and Missing Air Crew Reports. There are also copies of Record Site Plans of some Norfolk airbases, which are usually copies of Air Ministry plans.
However, except in a few cases, which are clearly marked in the catalogue, the archive does not contain copies of official service records for individual personnel. Official military service records are usually held by the National Archives and Records Administration's (NARA) National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in the United States of America. On 12 July 1973, a fire at the NPRC destroyed approximately 16 to 18 million official military personnel files, including those of 75 percent of United States Air Force personnel discharged between 25 September 1947 and 1 January 1964, with names alphabetically after Hubbard, James E. Therefore, if you are searching for official military service records, we would advise you to seek guidance from NARA about these records. Further information is available from the NARA website: <www.archives.gov/st-louis/military-personnel> [accessed 7 December 2010].
This archive does contain copies of lists of names of those servicemen from each Bomb Group who were buried at the Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial at Madingley, or whose names appear on the Wall of the Missing there. These lists are arranged in this catalogue under each combat unit for which they are held. However, the archive does not usually contain burial records for individual servicemen. For further information about servicemen believed to have been interred in the cemetery, you are advised to contact the cemetery. For more information, see the American Battle Monuments Commission website: <www.abmc.gov/cemeteries/cemeteries/ca.php> [accessed 7 December 2010].
The archive also contains sound recordings collected as part of the 2nd Air Division's Personal History Programme. As part of the programme, veterans recorded their own memoirs, following questions published in the 2nd Air Division Association 'Journal', vol. 24, no. 4, (December 1985) and sent them to the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library. For a copy of the questions published in 'The Journal', see MC 376/423/4. In this catalogue, recordings which formed part of the Personal History Programme are listed under the name of the individual veteran who made the recording. A few earlier recordings, dating from 1983, were also included when these records were deposited at the Norfolk Record Office. It is unclear whether they are incorrectly dated, or whether a few earlier recordings were sent in as part of the programme. Some other recordings, not of the memoirs of individual veterans, were deposited at the Norfolk Record Office by the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library with those of the 2nd Air Division Personal History Programme. They do not appear to relate directly to the programme itself, although many were donated to the Library around the same time. These recordings have been listed under the relevant catalogue section to which they relate.
Other sound recordings collected by, or created on behalf of, the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library and relating to the activities of the 2nd Air Division are listed in the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library section of this catalogue. They include taped BBC radio broadcasts, recorded memoirs and interviews with veterans and local people.
For all catalogue descriptions, we have tried to give accurate spellings of personal names and to identify correct military ranks. However, this has sometimes been difficult, especially in the case of sound recordings, and if you think that an entry should be changed or corrected factually, please let the Norfolk Record Office know.