Second World War fighter planes visit US airbase
PUBLISHED: 16:30 08 May 2018 | UPDATED: 16:35 08 May 2018
Two vintage Second World War-era planes stood proudly among the modern fighter jets of the US Air Force during a heritage event at a Suffolk airbase.
The 492nd Fighter Squadron, part of the 48th Fighter Wing based at RAF Lakenheath, welcomed a Republic P-47 Thunderbolt and a Supermarine Spitfire to raise money for charity.
Serving airmen and their families from the various squadrons at the base posed for pictures in front of the aircraft in exchange for an optional donation to the Air Force Assistance Fund.
The charity raises funds for its affiliated charities which all support current and ex servicemen and their families.
The Thunderbolt was one of main fighter planes used by the United States Army Air Force between 1941 and 1945.
It was flown by the 48th Fighter Wing, then known as the 48th Bombardment Group, between 1944 and 1945.
The P-47 which visited RAF Lakenheath, called No Guts, No Glory, was painted to resemble 492nd FS’s historical Second World War colours.
However, getting the Thunderbolt painted in the classic colour scheme was no easy process.
“It was very difficult to find any photographs of the squadron,” said Graham Peacock, owner of the P-47.
“We eventually found some bits of photographs, some of the front, some of the back, and we were able to put it together.
“This arrived two weeks ago from the United States in a shipping container, so we stripped all the paint off it, repainted it in these colours, put it back together and flew it for the first time on Friday, May 4.”
The planes lined up against the F-15 Eagles which currently fly from the base.
Lt Col Jeremy Renken, 492nd FS commander, said: “We just wanted to make sure that our airmen can reach out and touch that continuity of heritage.
“The Airmen stationed at RAF Lakenheath represent an ongoing sustained commitment to airpower in Europe, but also that special transatlantic relationship we have with the United Kingdom.
“Everything we do behind the scenes, like the interoperability and joint-readiness training we conduct with the RAF, can be hard to see, so this is a great opportunity to bring that relationship to the forefront and expose everyone to it.”