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Welcome to the official website of the 489th Bomb Group Collection.


FOLDED WINGS – Lt Charles H Freudenthal, USAF (Ret)

It is with very great sadness we report that our dear friend Charlie Freudenthal has passed away on 19th April 2016. He died peacefully, at home with his family present.

As the 489th’s Group Bombardier, Charlie said he didn’t belong to any particular crew in the group. Instead he flew missions with different crews, “ … bombardier and sometimes navigator”. Charlie wrote the book ‘A History of the 489th’ and was Editor of the 489th BG Newsletter for more than 20 years. Over many years he returned to Halesworth and Norwich for both the Second Air Division and the 489th BG Reunions making many friends in the area.

Charlie was born on 8th June 1916 and would have celebrated his 100th birthday this year. He was a wonderful man, kind, gentle and a great friend. He will be very sadly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with Helen and Don.

1944 - Captain Charles H Freudenthal, Group Bombardier

1996 - Lt Col Charles H Freudenthal


RETURNING TO HALESWORTH – 489th Navigator, Arthur Sensor

489th veteran Art Sensor was 95 in January this year and he has plans to return to Halesworth this summer (2016). Art’s grand-daughter Ingrid came to visit Halesworth in March and is planning to return with her Grandfather Art, and close family members.

Art served in the 489th with Pilot Harry Rutherford’s crew. Photos are of Art in 1944 and at home in April of this year. We look forward to welcoming him back to Halesworth.

1944 - Arthur Sensor, 489th Navigator

2016 April: Arthur Sensor, 489th Navigator


The 489th Bomb Group was re-activated in October 2015 at Dyess AFB, Texas, 70 years to the day after the original 489th was de-activated. The new 489th Bomb Group is the first and only B-1B Lancer Air Force Reserve unit. The group is made up of Air Reserve Technicians (ARTs) and traditional reservists whose mission is to support the 7th Bomb Wing.

We were delighted to welcome three members of the ‘new’ 489th Bomb Group who visited Halesworth to learn where our original 489th Bomb Group served during 1944. We look forward to forging more friendships over the coming years.

2016 April: Personnel of the 489th Bomb Group, Dyess AFB, Texas L-R: Lt Col Jimmy Jackson 345 BS; MSgt Donald Johnston, 489BG; CMSgt Ricky Fugate 489BG/CEM

2016 April: Personnel of the 489th Bomb Group, Dyess AFB, Texas L-R: Lt Col Jimmy Jackson 345 BS; MSgt Donald Johnston, 489BG; CMSgt Ricky Fugate 489BG/CEM

2016 April: Personnel of the 489th Bomb Group, Dyess AFB, Texas L-R: Lt Col Jimmy Jackson 345 BS; CMSgt Ricky Fugate 489BG/CEM; MSgt Donald Johnston, 489BG

2016 April: CMSgt Ricky Fugate 489BG/CEM, St Peter's Church, Holton with flag donated by the 489th veterans and dedicated at the church in 1992 during the 489th Reunion


This year’s Memorial Day Service will be held at the American Cemetery, Coton, Cambridge (Madingley) on Monday 30th May 2016 at 11am. * American Cemetery, Cambridge

At the 2015 Memorial Day Service, visiting 489th veteran’s daughter Marilyn Tobash laid our tribute to the fallen. Her father Harry Pomles, Squadron Navigator (846th), was killed in action on 24 July 1944 on a mission to St Lo. Thirty-three men of the 489th Bomb Group are buried in Cambridge with others named on the Wall of the Missing, including Leon Vance. We remember them all.

2015 Memorial Day, Cambridge UK - Bill and Marilyn Tobash



We are very sad to report that 489th veteran William (Bill) Smith, Colonel, USAF, Ret’d, passed away on 5 December 2015. He was present at the ceremony for the re-activation of the 489th Bomb Group at Dyess AFB, Abilene, Texas in October 2015. He attended with his daughter Cathy.

During 1944 Bill flew as Co-Pilot with Harry Rutherford’s crew. Dave Hillstrom told us that “Bill flew the last three missions with my father’s (Pilot Carl Hillstrom) crew after CP Lt Lee Baker got his own crew.”

In 2011 Bill and his family organised the 489th Reunion in Dayton, Ohio. See photo at the bottom of this page.

Bill returned to Halesworth with his wife Connie for the 489th Reunion in 1998. He was a lovely man and he will be sadly missed. Our thoughts are with his family.

489th Veteran Bill Smith - October 2015


The 2015 Remembrance Day Service was held on Sunday 8 November in St Peter’s Church, Holton, and afterwards, the congregation walked to the Airfield Memorial Site for a short service. Poppy wreaths were placed on the memorials to the 489th Bomb Group, the 56th Fighter Group and the 5th Emergency Rescue Squadron



It is with great sadness we inform you that 489th veteran August J Gaczi passed away on October 22nd, 2015, at the age of 95. Gus was a B-24 Pilot with the 844th Squadron.

August 'Gus' Gaczi, Pilot, 844th Squadron - photo taken in USA

His family wrote, “The name of his plane was ‘Pin Up Girl’. He flew 27 missions without losing a plane or a man. Gus and his wife Edith, returned to Halesworth for a 489th reunion and he was always delighted to meet with many of his dear friends. Gus flew back to the states to train as a B-29 pilot. The day he was to fly to the South Pacific, the atom bomb was dropped on Japan.”

Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time.

Clik on ‘Veterans Stories’ for more photos


It is with the greatest sadness we inform you that our friend, 489th veteran John Lamar passed away on 24 October 2015.

Born March 29, 1924, in Dallas, TX, John was just 20 years old when he flew from this airfield. He was Upper Turret Gunner with the Bodine crew and flew 32 missions in total. He flew in the B-24 ‘Special Delivery’ – shown on the ‘History’ page of this website.

John returned to Halesworth with Pat for the 489th Reunions and for also for personal visits with other members of his family. He and Pat made many friends here in Halesworth and he will be remembered for his kindness, sense of fun and a very big heart. Our thoughts and prayers are with Pat and his family.

489th - John Lamar (Escape photo)

489th - John Lamar

489th - Bodine Crew :B-24 'Special Delivery'


FOLDED WINGS – Dick Dietrick

It is with sadness we have to inform you that 489th veteran, Richard Lloyd “Dick” Dietrick, Sr passed away on Monday 2 March 2015. Dick and his wife Josie visited Halesworth in 1990 as part of the Second Air Division Reunion. Dick was a tail gunner with the 489th and flew over 30 missions, including on D-Day. We send our condolences to Josie and family.


We are very sad to inform you that 489th veteran, Robert H Gast (B-24 Pilot), passed away in October. His son Robert wrote:

“My father, Maj. Robert H. Gast, who served with the 489th Bomb Group (Heavy) at Halesworth, England during WWII, passed away on 10 October 2014 at age 94. He served part of his deployment as the 845th Sq Ops Officer. His burial included a military honour guard. He was buried with his B-24 tie clasp. … If anyone wishes to contact our family they may contact me.
Thank you,
Robert H. Gast, Jr.
Lt. Col. (Ret), USAF.”

(To contact Robert Gast, please click on ‘Contact’ button and we will forward your email.)

489th - Robert Gast, Pilot, 845th


FOLDED WINGS – Jack McMullen

It is with great sadness we inform you that our friend John K. (Jack) McMullen passed away on October 25, 2014, at the age of 92.

His son Scott, said that Jack spoke to his very last day of his proud days in the 489th Group and his service in World War II. As a young man of 22 Jack piloted a B-24 and completed 32 missions. (Please click on ‘Veterans Stories’ for more)

489th - Jack McMullen, Pilot, 844th489th - Jack McMullen, Pilot, 844th



2014 marked the 70th Anniversary of the 489th Bomb Group in Halesworth
Clik on ‘489th History’ on left-hand side of screen for campaigns, timeline etc


The Second Air Division Veterans returned to Norfolk/Suffolk with the 2AD Heritage League at the end of May 2014. We were pleased to welcome back 489th veteran Robert Hall and his family, together with Chris Clark nephew of a 489th airman who served both with the 489th and the 44th Bomb Groups. (click on ‘Veterans Return’ for full story)

OPEN every Sunday afternoon and Bank Holidays between April and October

The 489th Bomb Group Collection is currently on display in the Halesworth Airfield Memorial Museum situated on Halesworth airfield next to the Holton Memorial site. This has been made possible through the generosity of Bernard Matthews PLC who have made more space available to the current Halesworth museum, and by our friends at the Halesworth museum. With the 489th Collection now on display on its own ‘home’ airfield, it is easier for local people to visit the collection. The 489th Bomb Group Collection is administered by the Friends of the 489th, Halesworth.

The Halesworth Airfield Memorial Museum is open every Sunday afternoon and Bank Holidays between April and October.

Come and see the 489th Collection alongside all the existing fascinating exhibits in the museum giving a history of the airfield and surrounding area/people during WWII. * Halesworth Airfield Museum

PLEASE NOTE: The 489th Bomb Group Museum at Hardwick is now closed.


Selection of photos showing some of the displays in the Halesworth Airfield Museum:


In September 1989, 489th veteran, Charles H Freudenthal published his book “A History of the 489th Bomb Group”. He dedicated his book, “to all those who served, in whatever rank or capacity, with the 489th Bombardment Group and its attached units, especially to those who gave their lives in the cause of freedom and human dignity.” The 489th Bomb Group Collection is dedicated to these brave people.

The 489th Bomb Group were stationed at Halesworth between April and November 1944. The Group is commemorated in Halesworth by a granite Memorial stone situated on the edge of Holton Airfield and also by a Memorial Plaque in St Peter’s Church, Holton. The 489th Bomb Group Collection of personal artefacts is currently exhibited inside the Halesworth Airfield Memorial Museum.

The 489th Bomb Group Collection consists of original WWII memorabilia mainly donated by the men of the 489th and their families. This Collection offers the visitor the opportunity to discover the history of the 489th Bomb Group, to see the uniforms they wore, the instruments they used, and to learn more about the crews and personnel of this unique group. There are many books in the collection and children are particularly welcome. These original artefacts have been placed in the care of the Friends of the 489th by our veterans or their families.


2011 489th Reunion, Dayton Ohio2011 : 489th Reunion, Dayton Ohio. Back Row: L-R Ed Brandt, Frank Bodine, Mickey Baskin, Bob Deasy, Charles Freudenthal. Front Row: L-R Joe Modrich, Marlin Gherke, John Lamar, Bill Smith.

For more information please contact us

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