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Second World War fighter planes visit US airbase

PUBLISHED: 16:30 08 May 2018 | UPDATED: 16:35 08 May 2018

Airmen assigned to the 48th Fighter Wing manoeuvre  a vintage P-47 Thunderbolt next to an F-15E Strike Eagle for a heritage event at RAF Lakenheath. Picture: US Air Force photo/Tech Sgt Matthew Plew

Airmen assigned to the 48th Fighter Wing manoeuvre a vintage P-47 Thunderbolt next to an F-15E Strike Eagle for a heritage event at RAF Lakenheath. Picture: US Air Force photo/Tech Sgt Matthew Plew

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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.

P-47 Thunderbolt assigned to the 48th Fighter-Bomber Group during the Second World War. Picture: US Air ForceP-47 Thunderbolt assigned to the 48th Fighter-Bomber Group during the Second World War. Picture: US Air Force

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.

Airmen assigned to the 492nd Fighter Squadron pose with a vintage P-47 Thunderbolt for a heritage event at RAF Lakenheath. Picture: US Air Force photo/Tech Sgt Matthew PlewAirmen assigned to the 492nd Fighter Squadron pose with a vintage P-47 Thunderbolt for a heritage event at RAF Lakenheath. Picture: US Air Force photo/Tech Sgt Matthew Plew

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.

A P-47 Thunderbolt and a Supermarine Spitfire fly next to each other before landing at RAF Lakenheath, Picture: US Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Christopher SparksA P-47 Thunderbolt and a Supermarine Spitfire fly next to each other before landing at RAF Lakenheath, Picture: US Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Christopher Sparks

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.

P-47 Thunderbolt assigned to the 48th Fighter-Bomber Group during the Second World War. Picture: US Air ForceP-47 Thunderbolt assigned to the 48th Fighter-Bomber Group during the Second World War. Picture: US Air Force

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.

A Second World War era P-47 Thunderbolt taxis at RAF Lakenheath. The Thunderbolt was accompanied by a Supermarine Spitfire and were on display during a heritage day event hosted by the 492nd Fighter Squadron. Picture: US Air Force photo/Senior Airman Malcolm MayfieldA Second World War era P-47 Thunderbolt taxis at RAF Lakenheath. The Thunderbolt was accompanied by a Supermarine Spitfire and were on display during a heritage day event hosted by the 492nd Fighter Squadron. Picture: US Air Force photo/Senior Airman Malcolm Mayfield

“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.”

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