Sunday, 21 September 2014

Savannah, Part two The Mighty 8th

As the last post was pretty big I had to break it down a little, sorry to confuse you.
Not too far from Savannah is the home of The Mighty Eighth Air force Museum, dedicated to the Eighth bomber command that went to England during the second world war. There were many locations throughout England from 1942 until 1945.

Outside the Museum are modern ish aircraft which does seem a little odd.
An F 4C Phantom
The nitty gritty

A Russian Mig
Inside we met some very dedicated volunteer staff, some of which were ex veterans but of course none from WW2. They have whats called "The Theatre of War" which is inside 3 different rooms showing videos and a guy that tells stories from that age. Some of the video was very touching with some sad facts.

"By mid-1944, the 8th AF had reached a total strength of more

 than 200,000 people (it is estimated that more than 350,000 Americans 

served in 8th AF during the war in Europe). At its peak, the 8th AF could 

dispatch more than 2,000 four-engine bombers and 1,000 fighters on a 

single mission. "

City of Savannah 
 One of the huge B17 bombers is being restored and looks amazing.
Just imagine sitting in this slung underneath the belly of the plane and how cold it was.
Looks so lifelike, the background that is not Don, it even goes onto the floor just as if you are on the real base
This picture stopped me in my tracks, very moving

An old Humber bike as used in those days, look at the rod brakes, I did notice the flat tyres though
Did you know that Jimmy Stewart the actor was a very distinguished bomber pilot?
A Japanese Kamikaze pilots scarf and bayonet  
As it says a remarkable effort with those number of missions 

The exhibition is on a huge site with so many displays inside and outside, there are so many memorials to the groups in the gardens.
One of the guides told us about a veteran that visited the museum and he said the coldest temperature he experienced minus 62 F which must have been so bad.

A British tunic

German tunics 

 We were told by one member of staff about an accident when a bomber crashed into a school full of children and church, very few survived but one lady who was a child that was badly burned did visit the memorial and placed flowers next to the names, they were her friends

They were some of the lucky ones
Not so lucky 
A huge Strato Jet fighter
Of course the "unsung lady heroines" are mentioned but only at the end of the exhibits.
 The ladies not only flew these planes to the bases they towed targets behind them which the pilots shot at.
When the war ended they had to pay their own way back, they didn't even get a pension, there were 38 ladies.
WASP, stands for Women Air Force Service Pilots
The ladies were given mens oversized overalls which they had to make do with.

Overall the visit was quite emotional, we all enjoy freedom thanks to those brave men and women, I found myself writing this blog post imagining the conditions they must have endured. Not only the pilots and gunners, the ground crew who took care of each aircraft like it was "their baby". Some of the exhibits such as the prisoner of war display, the amount of memorials outside with thousands of names and dates including the number of missions they flew, some only made a few others made it back to live on but at what  price. It certainly makes you think. Of course thats the American side of the story, just think of the British and allied forces that fought for years and the sacrifices they made for freedom.
For those of you on Facebook here is something you may be interested in
If you ever have the chance to visit this place you will see far more than I can place on the blog I know I could have written more about this but we have to move on.

Next blog Charleston.

Don and Glenys
Agua Therapy

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