Somewhere in England
American Airmen in the Second World War
Published: March 2016
IWM’s new photographic book Somewhere in England – published to coincide with the reopening of IWM Duxford’s American Air Museum * – reveals stunning portrait photographs, many of which have never been published before, giving a snapshot of life as an American Airman serving in Britain in the Second World War.
Featuring over 70 images, including a rare selection of colour photographs, this book gives readers a candid glimpse into the many and varied roles of the men and women in, and associated with, the United States Air Force.
From photos of film star Clark Gable who served in Northamptonshire, Major Lloyd Mason being introduced to the Royal Family, through to Sergeant Leo Teetman Jr hungrily eating a sandwich after a long mission, this book tells the story of some of the 2 million men and women whose hard work and bravery helped to defend Britain from ‘Somewhere in England’ during the Second World War.
It includes everyone from fighter pilots and bomber crews, the navigators and gunners, through to the ground crew who ensured the aircraft kept flying and even the ‘GI brides’ who were swept off their feet by the American airmen.
Each photograph is accompanied by a profile telling the fascinating story of those who are featured. Striking images include Staff Sergeant Jayson Smart who was photographed with a bloodied face immediately after a mission, John Havener who enjoyed reading in bed when off-duty and war artist Frank Beresford who was caught painting a B-17 aircraft closely watched by a donkey!
Known by locals across the country as the ‘friendly invasion’, the arrival of the American Air Forces had a huge impact on British life – ‘I remember the Yanks almost more than I remember the war itself’, said one Suffolk woman.
The images have been selected from a collection of 15,000 photographs, lovingly assembled by enthusiast Roger Freeman. Growing up on a farm, Freeman lived close to several of the many airfields which became a home to the US Airmen from the Eighth Air Force during the war. His teenage enthusiasm developed into a life-long interest, and he collected and expertly curated an archive, which was recently acquired by Imperial War Museums to be preserved for future generations.
Members of the public can discover more images from his archive and the role of those who served in Britain at IWM’s American Air Museum website, a digital record of the memories and stories of the men and women of the US Army Air Forces (USAAF).
Did you know of an American who served in Britain during the war? Did your local community have an air base nearby? Was your local pub overrun with GIs over 70 years ago? We are inviting members of the public to record and share their experiences at www.americanairmuseum.com