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United States Army Air Force (USAAF) 2nd Air Division Memorial Library Archive
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Recorded interview of Phyliss Smales (née King) by Peter Foulsham, part 2 of 2 (side B of cassette)

Starts and finishes with Glenn Miller's 'String of Pearls'. Phyliss Smales recalls witnessing an act of violence against Dick [surname not given], a driver, who was attacked in the coal yard by three American servicemen. Recalls gift of a radio by Jim Buchanan, a driver. Eplains her nickname, 'Flossie Roughstuff'. Story of poker game in local pub. Mentions various parties. Story about Lucy (who later won a Miss Wells contest) washing hair in washrooms and passing out after taking too hot a bath and describes her stay in hospital. Describes regular medicals, blood tests and chest -rays including GI brides having blood tests before they were allowed into the US. Recalls trip to Great Yarmouth with Tabner Bird, Cpl Raymond West (the Colonel's driver) and Lucy. Mentions her husband's leave from the RAF. Mentions Lillian Kirby, from Malta, at Rackheath who married Wilbert Ritchett from Louisiana, who worked in the base theatre. Recalls meals with American servicemen at the Castle Hotel and Bell Hotel. Recalls work-related injuries. Recalls an ATS girl getting left behind after a dance (Ona Ready) and having to stay overnight, and Helen [surname not given] who arranged a 'hay ride' (cites a related article in the 'Eastern Daily Press' in 1975). Mentions Cyril Hood (RAF) who asked Phyllis to get horses from her father's farm and went to Salhouse Broads. Recalls seeing airbase surveyors before it opened. Recalls first sight of American servicemen driving past in truck with a white star on it. Recalls horse riding on the farm and inviting Americans to the local farms. Recalls an air display at end of war during which a fighter aircraft crashed. Also recalls the mid-air collision of two bombers (including [?] Coolidge, a rear-gunner, near Salhouse. Recalls the end of the war, preparing food for three missions a day and seeing injured personnel return.

Recorded interview of Phyliss Smales (née King) by Peter Foulsham, part 1 of 2 (side A of cassette)

Starts and finishes with Glenn Miller's 'String of Pearls'. Phyliss Smales describes working at the American Red Cross [ARC] Club at Rackheath airbase from the time it was built. Recalls being interviewed by Field Director Ralph Adams and Gladys Richards (manageress of British staff). Recalls starting in kitchens with Mrs Gwen Kenton (head cook). Describes moving to live on airbase from October 1944. Short discussion about the behaviour of the American servicemen. Describes warmth in Nissen huts and food. Recalls cooking breakfast for Major Paul [surname not given] and Richard Adams away from airbase. Recalls helping to cook pastry. Describes favourable working conditions and pay. Recalls taking inventory of kitchen before opening and describes the cooking range and fridge. Describes some of the men who worked nearby, including those detained by the Military Police and those working to deliver coal. Recalls cycling to friend's house in Salhouse where servicemen visited, including Don Snyder and Earl Keifer [ground crew]. Anecdote about getting lost returning to airbase with Don Snyder and getting in trouble with Military Police. Recalls dances with WAAFs, WRNS and ATS girls from Yarmouth. Talks about more recent friendship with Col Shower and remembers his drivers who used to take her and her friends out in the car. Reflects on leaving the airbase and Americans leaving equipment behind when they left. Describes moving with the ARC (with colleague Doris Randall) from Rackheath in July 1945 to Tidworth, Hampshire. Describes Tidworth as processing station for returning infantry and then GI bride reception centre. Describes accommodation with Americans Miss Juneman and Dot McLennan (club directors). Reflects on different attitudes of infantry to air crew. Describes move to the 103rd General Hospital, a hospital with German prisoners doing construction work. Describes GI bride processing and dances. Refers to English girls Molly Farrelly, Joan Spanswick and Jane 'Lizzy' Parry. Describes some German prisoners and the Austrian singer Ralph [Richard] Tauber. Describes food and entertainment provided for American servicemen. Describes another English employee, Gladys Keep. Reflects on her enjoyment of parties and attitudes towards American-British relationships. Talks about leadership at Rackheath, including Col Shower, Ion Walker, Maj Woodward and English manageresses. Anecdotes about dancing, invasion warnings on airbase and comments on rats eating candles in accommodation.

Recorded interview of Andrew Raffle by Peter Foulsham

Starts and finishes with Glenn Miller's 'String of Pearls'. Raffle recalls his first encounter with Americans at scout camp near Snetterton and seeing B-17 'Flying Fortresses' on the airbase. Discussion of aircraft recognition as a hobby and seeing various aircraft including Spitfires. Discussion of British and American aircraft and tactics, including American formation flying behind lead ships and British Lancaster bombers going out one after the other. Description and discussion about tail art and nose art for aircraft identification. Discussion about different experiences of meeting air crews for both men leading to talk about social occasions and the Sampson and Hercules club, Norwich. Foulsham describes working on canteen trucks. Discussion about Norwich VE-Day celebrations. Raffle recalls school [fire]'watching duties on roof and witnessing B-24 crash after enemy attack ['Night of the Intruders', 22 April 1944. Description of this attack and Heigham Street air crash. Discussion about the use of bicycles by American servicemen. Story about Raffle being called in to speak to police for telling his pen pal about an air crash. Discussion about censorship and security. Returns to discussion about aircraft identification, including reference to regular purchase of 'Aircraft Recognition' magazine. Both talk about attempts to join the RAF. Discussion about impact of enemy threat on school life. Discussion about aerial reconnaissance and German use of Junkers 88s for aerial photography along the railway line in 1940, with comments on different camera types. General reflections on enjoyment of wartime and making their own entertainment. Recorded on side A only.

Recorded interview of Russell Gordon Gower by Peter Foulsham

Gower outlines his background living at Blyford Woods, near Halesworth airbase, and working on the airbase with the Air Ministry Works Department in the electrical workshops, 1942-1946. Outlines his duties, working primarily with lighting repairs. Talks about witnessing the arrival and departure of the 56th Fighter Group, 489th Bomb Group, Air/Sea Rescue and the Fleet Air Arm from Halesworth airfield. Refers to the bracelets made from threepenny pieces by the electrician which were popular with the American servicemen. Recorded on side A only.

Recorded interview of Freda Harper by Peter Foulsham

Discussion between Freda Harper and Peter Foulsham about life and work in wartime Norwich, and the American presence. Starts and finishes with Glenn Miller's 'String of Pearls'. Talks about sending telegrams, mainly servicemen communicating between airbases. Discusses her work with the Post Office and training as a telegraphist. Discussion about the arrival of the Americans and other nationalities before them (Polish, Slovakian and French) and changes in Norwich. Talks about joining the American Red Cross (ARC) and working on Sundays in the canteens. Refers to the Rackheath band 'The Airliners' and dances at Horning Ferry. Recalls Glenn Miller and his band playing at Attlebridge. Recalls Jimmy Stewart. Discussion about general impressions of the American servicemen including GI brides, accents, 'coloured GIs' and language. More discussion of dances, especially at Rackheath airbase; receiving a certificate for 500 hours of dancing. Recalls a visit to the Cambridge American Cemetery when it was still a nissen hut and the death of Joseph Kennedy. Further references to work as a telegraphist and the former museum at the British Telecom exchange and telephone books. Recalls her grandfather was Clerk of the Works and had the second telephone in Norwich. Recalls helping an American find information about his brother 'Scotty' in the Roll of Honor and taking families to Rackheath. Recalls friendship with an American, 'Red', who flew to Africa and brought back oranges and gave her a bracelet he had made. Gives general information about Thorpe St Andrew; sirens; Morrison shelter; putting out incendiaries; family and watching enemy action. Short discussion about cameradie and wartime spirit. Recorded on side A only.

Photographs of the 2nd Air Division Memorial Room

1) Photographs showing the interior of the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library (24 photographs).
2) Photographs from the presentation of a copy of Mike Benarcik, 'In Search of Peace', to T.C. Eaton, May 1992 (8 photographs).
3) Photographs of Phyllis DuBois (2 photographs).
4) Photographs showing the interior of the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library with Library staff and details of some of the exhibitions, 1995 (48 photographs).
5) Negative showing 329th Bomb Squadron (? 93 rd Bomb Group, Hardwick).
Mr T. C. Eaton was chairman of the 2nd Air Division Memorial Trust.

USAAF, 445th Bombardment Group; 1943-1945; Tibenham, Norfolk

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