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The Friends Of Leiston Airfield Official Web Site

357th Fighter Group 8th USAAF

We welcome veterans, their family and friends to contact us. Particularly those who wish to visit the airfield.
Guided tours of the old airfield and base areas can be arranged and we can also arrange local accomodation.

This is not intended as either a history of Leiston airfield nor of the 357th Fighter Group 8th USAAF, but as an information point for those interested in our activities..

So, who are "The Friends of Leiston Airfield & the 357th Fighter Group" and what do you do?

Mainly, we are owners of holiday caravans on the park, although we have some members from outside the park. Some live locally and others not. Our mission is to welcome veterans, their family and friends to the airfield and ensure that the sacrifices made by the men of the 357th Fighter Group are not forgotten.

In 1995 we decided that the location of small memorial erected in 1991 was so inaccessible on a 362nd hardstand that a new location was needed so that the public could see it. We were only dozen strong but we resolved to build larger memorial the public road, Harrow Lane, which now crosses the old airfield. This we did and it was unveiled by the Commander 3rd United States Air Force Major General William Hinton in May 1998.
Our guests from the 357th Fighter Group Association were Joe DeShay, Crew Chief with the 364th Ftr Sqn and his wife Ellen, Don Kocher, pilot with the 364th Ftr Sqn and his wife Freda, Pat Buzzeo, Crew Chief with the 362nd Ftr Sqn and his wife Audrey and John Roche, an armourer with the 364th Ftr Sqn and his wife Grace.

Since that time we have welcomed many veterans and their wives, their children, grandchildren, nephews and nieces.
Sometimes the visits have very poignant, such when we hosted the sister of Walter Corby who was killed in an AT-returning from France with S/Sgt Melvin Schueneman. Having laid a wreath on the Memorial, she spent several moments running her fingers on his engraved name. We stopped at the memorial several more times that day as we toured the old base, she did the same each time. As she was finally leaving husband, she thanked me and FoLA for what we do and told me that she felt closure after all these years having visited the spot where he crashed near Dover and the airfield where he flew his last mission.

We are still a very small group. Our fund raising ensures that each year we can hold Memorial Day event and to maintain the memorials, the model P-51 outside the Park Offices and the Yoxford Boys Bar which are now responsible for, The Leiston Airfield Heritage Centre, to entertain our guests at lunch and lastly to provide visitors with a wreath to lay at the memorial should they wish to do so.

Oh yes, we also have lot of fun raising the funds.

Please remember the airfield and other sites are on private property are very strictly out of bounds.
The land owners are nice people and are willing to allow FoLA to conduct visitors to these areas appointment like trespassers so please wander to their property.

The Cakes & Ale Park is also private property so should you wish to view the Mustang Memorial and the Heritage Centre please, as matter of courtesy, report to the Park Office or to the Yoxford Boys Bar situated to the rear of the building where you will be very courteously received.

Thank you

Peter Saunders

For further information, comment or contributions

Contact Peter Saunders
e-mail: foleistonairfield@btinternet.com

or write to:

The Friends of Leiston Airfield
Cakes & Ale Park
Abbey Lane
Therberton
Suffolk
IP16 4TE

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