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US Black Aviation Engineers stationed Suffolk in WW2

Using the newly accessioned USAF 490th Bomber Group archives, the project aims to discover the experiences of black servicemen from the US 923rd Engineer Aviation Regiment, stationed in Suffolk during WW2.

Many black US servicemen serving in Suffolk constructed the US Airfields and particularly the Engineer Aviation Battalions who built Eye, Debach and Raydon airfields.


The project aims to discover how their arrival impacted the local communities and how their experiences differed to their lives at home. Did the USAF Authorities implement a policy of segregation in Suffolk, when the white aircrews arrived in 1944?

The 847th Battalion had a reputation as a very musical unit, producing male-voice choirs and jazz bands. The famous newspaper cartoonist Giles often jammed with men from the Debach-based unit in local pubs


We have already recruited a number of volunteers who are keen to get started, if you are interested in getting involved with the research or sharing these stories with the community, please email :