From the Eastern Daily Press:
….A leading veteran and former president of the 2nd Air Division Association, Earl Zimmerman, who was based in Norfolk during the Second World War, has died aged 88.
Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross while serving with the 389th Bomb Group at Hethel, near Wymondham, he will be buried with military honours at the USA’s Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, on Monday.
He was 21 when he married a Norwich girl, 17-year-old June Courteney, at Norwich Cathedral on March 24, 1945. After rejoining the United States Air Force after the war in his native USA, he was posted to Norwich in 1950 for a five-year tour as an agent with the Office of Special Investigations.
The young radio operator, who survived a mid-air collision over Seething airfield while preparing for a raid on the Romania[n] oilfields at Ploesti, had joined the 389th Bomb Group in June 1943.
While on his third mission, flying from Benghazi, Libya, their B-24 Liberator crashed in “neutral” Turkey, where he was interned.
As he later described it: “We needed a break from powdered eggs and dehydrated potatoes, so we decided to go to Turkey for fresh melons, pasta and ice-cream. After six months of living high on the hog, however, we decided to escape and get back to combat.”
He managed to keep the gold sovereign, part of his official escape kit, bought the others from fellow crew members, and had them made into a bangle for his wife….
Read the full obituary at the Eastern Daily Press website. We at the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library will truly miss our long-time supporter, colleague, and friend.