Explore American Heritage in East Anglia

During the Second World War eastern England became home to thousands of American air force personnel. By 1943 there were more than 100,000 US airmen based in Britain. The majority were concentrated in the east. Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire would never be quite the same again. The Friendly Invasion, as it was dubbed, introduced a fairly sleepy, largely rural backwater to the big band music of Glenn Miller, peanut butter, jitterbugging and Coca Cola.

Discover East Anglia's American connections for yourselves...

The Friendly Invasion Airfields

EXACTLY 75 YEARS AGO

On February 20, 1942, the first of the United States Army Air Force arrived in Britain to make history. A small group of officers, forming the advance party, travelled via Portugal in plain clothes.

The Friendly Invasion

8TH & 9TH USAAF

The 8th & 9th Air Forces located on over 100 bases, many with up to 3,000 personnel, were the largest air strike forces ever committed to battle, while the Ninth operated the most formidable troop-carrying force ever assembled.

The Friendly Invasion

EXPLORE THE EAST TODAY

Did you have a relative who served in England during the war? Perhaps he married a GI bride. What were these places you may have heard about like – Norwich, Ipswich and Cambridge – and what are they like now?