Official Visitor Website

Masters of the Air: The Friendly Invasion

4 Nights Itinerary

Follow in the footsteps of the US flying boys, based solely in the East of England during the second world war, whose bravery and exploits paved the way for the Allied victory in Europe. The Mighty Eighth Air Force made a welcome friendly invasion of the East of England. They were to become the Masters of the Air.

This itinerary will give you a comprehensive tour of the major sites, including the planes they flew and where they flew them from.

The 100th Bomb Group Memorial Museum, Thorpe Abbotts

Choose Your Day…
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 1
University City Cambridge
US graffiti in The Eagle Pub

Base yourself in the historic university city of Cambridge, home to some of the greatest thinks of the past 500 years. Enjoy a walking tour of the colleges, the historic objects of the Fitzwilliam Museum, a punt on the Cam along ‘The Backs’ and a pint at the 14th century Eagle pub, the famous RAF bar adorned by ceiling graffiti drawn by US airmen on passes from duty. This is the pub where, on February 28, 1953, Francis Crick announced that he and James Watson had ‘discovered the secret of life’ with their proposal for the structure of DNA.


Day 2
IWM Duxford and Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial
Memorials to the Fallen

This day will not only tell you the story of Masters of the Air: The Friendly Invasion but you will also get a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made to achieve victory over the Nazis.

Just outside Cambridge is the American War Cemetery at Madingley, 30 acres of land donated by the University of Cambridge as a last remaining place for 3,811 US war victims. Managed by the American Battle Monuments Commission, there are 5,127 names recorded on the Walls of the Missing. A chapel has two huge military maps and a mosaic ceiling memorial honouring the dead of the US air forces. A visitor centre has interpretive exhibits with personal stories, photographs and films.

11 miles outside Cambridge is Imperial War Museum Duxford, a historic airfield and museum that tells the stories of those who lived and fought in war from the first world war to 1969. It is also home to the newly-refurbished American Air Museum, a standalone building that includes a B17 Flying Fortress, B52 Stratofortress and a B24 Liberator.

The American Air Museum interactive display allows you to research the men and women who served in the region during the second world war.

Next stop is the historical ‘wool town’ of Lavenham. Dine at The Swan, home of the Airmen’s Bar, so named a many of the 850 signatures on the walls belong to US airmen stationed nearby during the second world war.

The Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial


Day 3
Air bases and Bury St Edmunds
See where the Mighty Eighth flew from

Visit three museums devoted to America’s wartime presence: the 95th Bomb Group, Horham, Suffolk, site of recent archaeological excavations of WWII items and the Red Feather Club; ‘The Bloody Hundredth’ Bomb Group Memorial Museum, Thorpe Abbotts; Rougham, from where the men of the 94 Bomb Group flew more than 300 missions over the German Reich.

This is where you’ll get the best sense of how the fliers lived their war.

On to Bury St Edmunds to explore the wonderful abbey ruins and gardens and its Magna Carta connections.

95th Bomb Group (H) Heritage Association, Horham

Day 4
Hollywood hero and historic Norwich
Oscar winner who led missions over Nazi Europe

Head to Old Buckenham, home to the 453rd Bomb Group which was commanded by Hollywood film star Jimmy Stewart, one of the few base commanders who led missions over Nazi-occupied Europe.

Then on to Norwich to peruse the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library at the Millennium Forum and visit the Norman castle and cathedral in Norwich, the best-preserved medieval city in England.

Norwich Cathedral