Tag Archives: hethel

Killed in Action : The Story of Robert Holly

Come and meet the author on Saturday 11th October, from 12 – 2pm in the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library at the Forum, Norwich.

On Saturday 11th October we’re pleased welcome the author David Kohler to the Memorial Library. David will be signing copies of his new book in the library from 12 to 2pm. Available to purchase at £10.00 per copy.

Killed in Action (small)

Like millions of young men, Robert Holly went away to war and was lost — never to be found…

This book tells the story of a young American airman, Robert Holly, whose life was tragically ended on 20th June 1944 when the B-24 Liberator aircraft of which he was a crew member, collided with another aircraft and crashed into the sea near Kiel in Germany. Staff Sergeant Robert Holly was a tail gunner serving with the 389th Bomb Group, United States 8th Army Air Force, based at Hethel in Norfolk during World War Two.

Only the pilot First Lieutenant William Powers and co-pilot Second Lieutenant Oscar Boudreaux survived the crash. All the remaining 8 crew members, including Robert, were killed in the crash, and are commemorated on the Wall of the Missing at the Cambridge American Cemetery, Madingley.

Robert was born and raised in northwest Indiana. He was a typical American youth and when in time of war his country called, he answered. This is the compelling story of his short life and tragic death as seen through his own eyes, and the eyes of others close to him – told through their letters, and detailed in numerous documents. This book is a memorial, not only to Robert Holly, but to the millions of others, who like him, were killed and disappeared without a trace.

The author: David Kohler is a retired attorney and a former teacher in the public schools. He has been a lifelong student of history with a deep interest in the Second World War, the American Civil War and the people who fought in them.

You can also meet David on Sunday 12th October, at the 389th Bomb Group Memorial Exhibition at Hethel, the last open day of the season, the museum is open from 10am to 4pm.

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Filed under Books, Current Events, Local Interest, World War 2

In Memoriam: Earl Zimmerman (1924-2012)

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.

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Filed under Local Interest, Memorial Library, World War 2