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One legacy of RAF Horham

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- The tears welling up in his eyes were easily controlled by his iron will, forged in the skies above Germany during World War II.

Lloyd Krueger, a 95th Bombardment Group lead navigator was attending the grand opening of RAF Horham May 17, an event, which spurred the rekindling of 60-year-old memories.

Along with Mr. Krueger, hundreds of British citizens, many of whom dressed up as U.S. Army Air Corp Airmen and U.S. Army Soldiers, attended the opening to commemorate the sacrifices Americans made during the war.

Part of the grand opening was held in the Red Feather Club, the last remaining building of RAF Horham. During the war it served as the Non-Commissioned Officer Club and has been saved and restored by the 95th Bombardment Group Heritage Association, a British organization.

That association is completely separate, but intimately related to the 95th Bomb Group (Heavy) Memorial Foundation, whose members include World War II veterans.

The bond between these two groups, one British and one American, could be considered one legacy of RAF Horham.

"We are very, very close," said James Mutton, British chairman of the 95th BG Heritage Association. "I'm actually on the [95th BG Memorial Foundation] board of directors in America, I go to their reunions every year."

Mr. Mutton has lived in the area since he was a child. His close proximity to the old airfield ignited the passion within him that drove his organization to purchasing and restoring the Red Feather Club.

"When you walk through those doors, I wanted to create a time warp; I wanted our visitors and guests to see exactly what the young Americans saw when they walk through those doors in 1943," he said. "This is a living memorial to those men who fought and died for both of our countries in the world's liberation from tyranny."

Vivian Sutton and her two children were visiting the airfield, and understood the importance of the area.

"It's important for my children to understand why people risked their lives years ago, why we have remembrance days and the history of it all," said Mrs. Sutton. "This is important for both British and American heritage, they shouldn't be forgotten."

"[This place] is proof of what our two countries can do together," said Mrs. Sutton's 12-year-old son Robert. "I will remember this day."

Earl Joswick, a former staff sergeant and B-17 ball-turret gunner with the 95th BG, was in attendance and will also remember it, and the days he spent there during World War II. "This place brings back the memories, you never think you'll see it back to the [state] it was in back then," he said. "It's the same color, they've done just a beautiful job and I just can't believe it."

Even though the day was about celebrating the American contributions to the war effort, the tears welling in Mrs. Krueger's eyes weren't for the memories he had at RAF Horham, they were for a British couple he met back then.

"After a night of pubbing, a British couple took us in," he explained. "She had to excuse herself and he kept apologizing. We later found out their son had been shot down in a Lancaster and they were hoping he was taken as a prisoner of war. But that very day they found out he was dead and buried at [Arnhem Oosterbeek War Cemetery in the Netherlands]. There was no reason he should have been apologizing. It's something that still sticks with me, these [British] are tough people, believe it."

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