100th Bomb Group Memorial Museum, Thorpe Abbotts, Norfolk

Due to heavy losses the 100th Bomb Group became known as the ‘Bloody Hundredth’. Housed in the original airfield control tower and surrounding buildings, the museum tells a moving story of the wartime experiences of those stationed at Thorpe Abbotts, near Diss, about 30 minutes’ drive south from Norwich. Since the 1970s this volunteer-run, fully accredited museum has been a star attraction in Norfolk. A Steven Spielberg-Tom Hanks produced television mini-series is due to feature the exploits of the 100th. Masters of the Air is based on historian Donald L Miller’s book.

100th Bomb Group Memorial Museum, Thorpe Abbotts, Norfolk


The Group gained the name the ‘Bloody Hundredth’ not because it took the highest overall loss, but because on specific missions it sustained particularly high casualties.

100th Bomb Group Memorial Museum, Thorpe Abbotts, Norfolk


The bad luck experienced by the group became the stuff of legend, and the 100th remains the most written about outfit in the air force. The cost of victory was great; 229 aircraft were lost from 1943-5, with 768 men killed or missing and 939 taken prisoner.

100th Bomb Group Memorial Museum, Thorpe Abbotts, Norfolk


On its first raid, over Bremen, Germany, three planes and 30 men were lost. The 100th were also in the front line on ‘Black Thursday’ –October 1943 – when the Eighth Air force lost 60 aircraft in raids on a ball bearing factory at Schweinfurt.

100th Bomb Group Memorial Museum, Thorpe Abbotts, Norfolk


They were also involved in repulsing Hitler’s final gamble – the offensive in the Ardennes in December, 1944, known as the Battle of the Bulge. The Group’s last combat mission was over Berlin on April 20, 1945.

20th Century Fox - Twelve Oclock High


Gregory Peck starred in the 1949 film Twelve O’Clock High, based on the wartime drama of the 100th.


By 1977 Thorpe Abbotts hadbeen abandoned for 30 yearsLocal enthusiasts began restoring the control tower. They also forged lasting links with American veterans, the result being visits on bothsides of the Atlantic.

The current museum displays are housed in the original aircraft control tower. In 2017 many exhibits have been updated and refreshed, including the uniform room and displays in the chapel. You can meet Captain Joe Orendorff, veteran of 29 combat missions, and see the flak jacket that saved his life. On the roof the glasshouse is a good viewing point for the remaining airstrips.

The Engine Room houses an iconic Second World War jeep, while a Nissen Hut (Qonset) houses a display of model aircraft. Thorpe Abbotts has been recognised by the Museum Libraries and Archives Council as an Accredited Museum.


Common Road, Dickleburgh, near Diss, Norfolk IP21 4PH

Opening hours:
March 1 - October 31, weekends and bank holidays: 10am-5pm.
May to September: Wednesdays

Admission free Tel: +44 (0) 1379 740708