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Thunderbolt flies in to RAF Lakenheath




Airmen with the 492nd Fighter Squadron pose with a vintage P-47 Thunderbolt painted to resemble the squadron's World War Two colours. (USAF photo/Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew)
Airmen with the 492nd Fighter Squadron pose with a vintage P-47 Thunderbolt painted to resemble the squadron's World War Two colours. (USAF photo/Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew)

A little bit of history flew into RAF Lakenheath yesterday after a quick ‘costume’ change.

When airmen from the 48th Fighter Wing and their families crowded around a P-47 Thunderbolt at a heritage and fund raising event they saw the aircraft with the red chequer nose worn by their own 492nd Fighter Squadron during World War Two

The P-47 Thunderbolt ande Spitfire fly over RAF Lakenheatt. (USAF photo/Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew)
The P-47 Thunderbolt ande Spitfire fly over RAF Lakenheatt. (USAF photo/Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew)

But painting the Thunderbolt in the colour scheme and transporting it to Lakenheath was no easy process.

The Thunderbolt, once based at The Imperial War Museum, Duxford as “No guts, no glory”, only arrived back in the UK from the USA in a shipping container a week before the event.

Owner Graham Peacock said: “It was very difficult to find any photographs of the [492nd] squadron.

“We eventually found some bits of photographs, some of the front, some of the back, and we were able to put it together. 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.”

During World War II, the 48th Fighter-Bomber Group flew P-47s in support of operations in Europe, including the D-Day on June 6, 1944.

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 event was for the Air Force Assistance Fund, which raises money for charities that support USAF personnel. Airmen and their families made donations to pose with the Thuderbolt, a Spitfire and the 492nd’s current F-15 jets.



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