Friends of Lavenham Airfield honor fallen WWII U.S. military service members

Col. Will Marshall, 48th Fighter Wing commander, talks to a community member at Lavenham Airfield, England, Jan. 20, 2020. Marshall visited Lavenham Airfield to help lay down the first brick for a long-lasting memorial honoring 233 U.S. military service members that died in World War II. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Madeline Herzog)

The Friends of Lavenham Airfield hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for a memorial plaque dedicated to the 233 U.S. military service members that died in World War II, at Lavenham Airfield, England, Jan. 20.

“This site is one of many in East Anglia where heroes took to the skies to defeat tyranny, many who didn’t return,” said Col. Will Marshall, 48th Fighter Wing commander. “It is great to see our communities work together to continue to honor their bravery and sacrifice. The 48th FW was honored to be part of the groundbreaking ceremony here at Lavenham for a new memorial which will preserve history and connect future generations to those brave airmen who secured our freedom.”

The 487th Bombardment Group, U.S. Army Air Forces, arrived in Lavenham in April 1944 and stayed until Nov. 1945. FOLA volunteers said the group gave a positive impact on their community even thought they were there such a short time.

“For a long time we felt that the Airmen gave so much to the village, so we should honor them,” said Mike Warner, FOLA volunteer. “A lot of villages at the time didn’t have running water, electric or heat, so the Airmen made our little town in a city with resources. They interacted with community members and gave everyone incredible spirit.”

The all-volunteer community group aims to keep the history
of Lavenham Airfield and the 487th BG alive. The unveiling of the memorial happens in May, and FOLA said they are expecting up to 40 family and friends to attend in remembrance of their veterans and loved ones.