Welcome to my blog on the 353rd Fighter Group – a group I have had plenty of connection with over the years. The 353rd operated P-47 Thunderbolt and P-51 Mustang aircraft as part of 8th Fighter Command (and eventually Third Bomb Division) from England between June 1943 and September 1945. They were based at Goxhill, Metfield and Raydon.

So why my blog? The passing of some good friends who served with the Group in recent months and a few queries from other friends got me thinking again about the record they have left behind. We are now at the stage when living memory of the 353rd is passing from the scene – there will be few further anecdotes from the men of the 353rd. At one level therefore I’m simply asking what evidence have they left behind?

In 30 years of involvement with 8th Air Force history and heritage I have accumulated a large body of historical documentation and photographs that form the 353rd Fighter Group Archive. As the 353rd’s historian and friend, many veterans entrusted important material to me to ensure their history was preserved for future generations. I aim to share some of this material via this blog, but all of it will be donated to an archive here  in the UK to make it an accessible resource for future researchers. The archive always welcomes new donations of material, so if you hold something of importance to the 353rd’s history and would like to see it preserved as part of the groups historical collection please get in touch.

I should state that this blog is intended neither as an act of celebration or commemoration – this is achieved by others elsewhere to much greater effect. I’m interested in exploring the historical record. That said, I’m sure I will, at times, cross the boundary between a raw presentation of the data available and the 8th Air Force as a heritage subject and concern of popular history.

A few final words. Veterans and family members of veterans are most welcome to contact me with queries – I will do my utmost to help. Similarly, anyone with further information is warmly invited to contribute to the posts or drop me a line. You can contact me by posting a comment on my blog or Facebook page. You can also be notified of any new posts by typing your email address in the box on the right of the homepage and clicking the ‘Follow’ button. The black button marked ‘Follow’ at the bottom right of the screen also lets you do this. Alternatively, if you would rather send me an email type slybird353 and then add @hotmail.co.uk to it.

While I hope the blog prompts lively discussion and contributions, I’m very sorry that the time I have available means that I cannot become involved in other non veteran/family research requests.