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Servicemen's generosity

American service personnel were renowned for their generosity. People were were children at the time of the Second World War tell so many stories of how youngsters were adopted by airmen.
These two tales gleaned from the Eastern Daily Press newspaper of the 1940s give us some idea. On Christmas Day, 1942, USAAF officers based in Norfolk hosted 60 local children, and then took them to the pantomime at the Theatre Royal, Norwich.
Two years later, the EDP reported “thousands” of Norfolk children getting a Christmas they would never forget courtesy of the generous Americans. As guests of the bomber bases, they got unheard of treats such as ice cream. Santa Claus arrived at Bury St Edmunds in a Flying Fortress bomber, then the children helped load up a Liberator aircraft with fruit, candy and toys they had made to send to kids in recently liberated Paris.
The Friendly Invasion - Santa

A bit of R&R

The American Red Cross provided recreational facilities for troops on leave. Weekend passes were quite frequent, while eight-day furloughs were granted every six or seven months.
In Cambridge there were eventually six clubs; one for officers, five for other ranks. They provided diversions including: wrestling, weightlifting, baseball, volleyball, running, pool, snooker, darts, dominoes, cards, bingo, films, community singing and tea dances with bands. For the more serious-minded, intellectuals such as Bertrand Russell gave talks and held discussions on topical issues.
The Friendly Invasion

G.I Jane

The Women’s Army Corps was created in May, 1942. Despite some opposition at home and among male colleagues, up to 150,000 women eventually served during the Second World War. It was the first time woman had been in the US military for anything but nursing. They operated telephone exchanges, teletypes, conducted weather observation and acted as mechanics, freeing men up for the front. Others volunteered for the Red Cross.
The Friendly Invasion

Boss Lady

The names of American bombers have passed into folklore. Many were named after girlfriends and movie stars, boasting appropriately glamorous nose art. There were Memphis Belle, Beau Jac, Suzy Q, Lili Marlene, Ice-Cold Katie and Buffalo Gal. Some went for something more macho; The Playboy, Hellzadroppin’, Holy Joe, Wolves Inc and The Avenger. Some were straight to the point – Flak Magnet – while one philosophical and historically minded pilot chose Tom Paine, after the English radical writer born in Norfolk.
The Friendly Invasion - Boss Lady