Welcome to the official website of the 489th Bomb Group Collection.
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A PEACEFUL NEW YEAR TO OUR 489TH VETERANS, FAMILIES AND FRIENDS
Holton St Peter Church, Halesworth, Suffolk, UK
(No snow in Halesworth this Christmas but St Peter’s Church looks so beautiful in this photo from a few years ago!)
FOLDED WINGS – Roger Underwood
It is with great sadness we must inform you that 489th Bombardier/Navigator 1/Lt Roger Leslie Underwood passed away on 20 October 2016 at the age of 91. Roger flew with Jack McMullen’s crew and he completed 32 missions over France and Germany. Roger’s daughter Susan with her husband Ron visited the Halesworth Museum two years ago. Roger was buried with full military honours at Miramar National Cemetery.
489th: L-R Front: Jack McMullen (P), Edward Beck (CP), Richard Caldwell (N), Roger Underwood (B). Rear: Eugene Sokolowski (G), John Dominy (E), Sidney Abelson (RO), Philip Comerford (G), Philip Albarelli (G), Joseph Miedzybrocki (G).
FOLDED WINGS – Jack Gartenberg
We are sad to report that 489th Radio Operator, Jack Gartenberg passed away in earlyJune 2016. His son Jon wrote that Jack was over “102 years of age and often spoke in his later years about his time at Halesworth. He even recalled the crew members on his plane when I mentioned their names. I am glad to have learned of this legacy of his, fighting for freedom from this Air Force Base, and am appreciative of all the good work you and your colleagues have done to remember the brave soldiers of the 489th.”
Jack flew with Dale Coburn’s crew in the B-24 ‘Buckshot Annie’.
1944: 489th Dale Coburn's crew with B-24 Buckshot Annie
489th: Dale Coburn's crew (photo from Charles Freudenthal's book 'A History of the 489th Bomb Group')
2016 REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY
2016 Remembrance Sunday at the 489th Memorial: Royal British Legion and Personnel from the 48th Fighter Wing, RAF Lakenheath
WE WILL REMEMBER THEM
Click on side bar ‘Remembrance Day’ to see more photos and a report of the day (and scroll down for 2016).
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO VETERAN JAMES T PACE who turned 96 years of age on 15 September 2016
489th Navigator Jim flew Lead crew with Pilot Gus Gaczi. They flew ‘Pin Up Girl’ for 14 of their 27 missions between May and November 1944. Jim told us that they were not allowed to write home about their missions or how many. He wrote to his sister and to Mary Margaret, who was his girl friend at the time, saying that he was collecting ‘Pin Ups’ as his new plane was named ‘Pin Up Girl’. “One of them offered to send me some, but I told them I had to collect my own. They then decided I was trying to tell them something and eventually came to the right conclusion as to what it was … A Pin Up for each mission.”
Before the war Jim was a teacher but after he taught for one year then joined the staff of a local bank and enlisted with the National Guard. That Unit was activated during the Korean War and Jim served in Korea for eight months.
James Trigg and Mary Margaret Pace on their 70th Wedding Anniversary in February 2015 2015: James Trigg and Mary Margaret Pace - 70th Wedding Anniversary
The 489th Return to Halesworth
2015: October - 489th Bomb Group Patch
Personnel from the re-activated 489th Bomb Group, now based at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, visited Halesworth in early September 2016. It was a return visit for Ricky Fugate and Don Johnson, but for Col Denis Heinz, Terence and Nick it was their first time in Halesworth. Ricky brought a couple of his ‘modern’ uniforms to be displayed alongside the WWII uniforms worn by the airmen who flew from this airfield during 1944.
2016: September - Nick and Paul inside Halesworth Airfield Museum during the visit of the 'new; 489th Bomb Group personnel.
2016: September visit by the 'new' 489th Bomb Group personnel. L-R: Elaine, Marjorie, Ricky, Col Denis Heinz, Terence, Don and Sue
FOLDED WINGS – Robert Kirby
We have received the sad news that Robert Kirby passed away on 17 August 2016. Bob flew with Gus Gaczi’s crew as pilotage navigator and nose turret gunner. Fellow crew member James T Pace (navigator) told us they were a Lead crew so carried two navigators. They flew 14 missions in the B-24 ‘Pin Up Girl’ and a further 13 missions in various other aircraft. Bob returned to Halesworth in December 1997 with his daughter Carolyn and son-in-law Steve. The crew got together at the 489th Tampa Reunion in 2000, and several of them kept in touch.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Bob’s family.
489th: 2000 Tampa Reunion - L-R Front: Charles (Chuck) Taylor, Gus Gaczi, James T Pace. L-R Back: Gaylon Royer, Robert Kirby, Charles Harkins, John Nemeth.
Part of the Crew: L-R: Lt Bob Kirby, Capt A J Gaczi, ? , ? , Lt Chuck Taylor, Lt James T Pace
FOLDED WINGS – Lt Col Francis S Bodine (Ret.USAF)
We are so very sad to report that 489th Pilot Francis S Bodine passed away on Sunday 14 August 2016 at the age of 96. Frank was a Lead Pilot flying in the B-24 ‘Special Delivery’. His first bombing mission from Halesworth was on 31 May 1944 – the day of the first operational mission for the 489th BG. He flew 23 missions from Halesworth and was sent back to the states to train in B-29s. Frank was present at the re-activation of the 489th Bomb Group in October 2015. This photograph shows Frank with Col Denis Heinz of the newly activated 489th Bomb Group. Our thoughts and prayers are with Frank’s family at this time.
2015: October - Frank Bodine, 489th WWII Pilot, with Col Denis Heinz at the re-activation of the 489th Bomb Group, Dyess AFB, Texas. The re-activation ceremony took place 70 years to the day that the original 489th BG was stood down.
1944: 489th BG - Bodine Crew: L-R Front: Henry Dellano (E), Carl Brown (G), Donald Jeffrey (G), Matthew Gasperich (G), Troy Warren (RO), John Lamar (G), Rear: Gustave Payfer (DN), Francis Bodine (P), Julius Vanerwegen (CP), Franklin Newman (PB), Charles Weaver (RN), Joseph Girard (B).
FOLDED WINGS – Horace ‘Mickey’ Baskin
It is with the greatest sadness we have to report that our friend, Mickey Baskin passed away on 15th June 2016.
Mickey was Radio Operator with the Morse crew in the 844th. Their last mission (32) was on 11th September 1944. Mickey returned to Halesworth on many occasions, with the 2nd Air Division, on 489th Reunions, with his wife Rita, and with friends. His last visit was in 2012 for what he called “my last hurrah!”
He made many friends in Halesworth and we all mourn his passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with his daughter Marcia.
489th Col Napier and Horace 'Mickey' Baskin 1944
489th Mickey Baskin, Halesworth 2012
MEMORIAL DAY 2016
The Memorial Day Service was held at the American Cemetery, Coton, Cambridge (Madingley) on Monday 30th May 2016 at 11am. Click on ‘Memorial Day’ for photos and details. * American Cemetery, Cambridge
2016: Memorial Day, Cambridge American Cemetery, Madingley - Tribute to the 489th Bomb Group
Second Air Division Memorial Library – new Digital Archive!
Recently the Friends of the 489th were lucky enough to be invited to the Launch of the Second Air Division Memorial Library’s new Digital Archive (event held at The Forum, Norwich, Norfolk). This project has been completed to offer “accurate information” for researchers, and will also be an asset for families looking for photos/information. Many congratulations should go to the County Archivists and to the Memorial Library staff who have worked tirelessly to get this Digital Archive up so quickly. Take a look here ….* Second Air Division Memorial Library Digital Archive
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 RETURN TO HALESWORTH
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
FOLDED WINGS – Bill Smith
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
FOLDED WINGS – Gus Gaczi
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
FOLDED WINGS – John Lamar
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.
FOLDED WINGS – Bob Gast
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.
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, 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)
SEE THE DISPLAY OF THE 489TH BOMB GROUP COLLECTION AT THE HALESWORTH AIRFIELD MEMORIAL MUSEUM
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.
VETERAN PHOTO FROM THE 489TH REUNION, SEPT 2011
2011 : 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