The 95th Bomb Group (H), a B-17 Flying Fortress outfit that operated out of Horham, Suffolk, England for most of the war, is gathering this coming Wednesday in Dallas for its annual reunion. I have the good fortune to be attending again this year and look forward to it greatly. The 95th BG, like many WWII bomb groups, holds a reunion every year and the gray-haired flyboys, their wives, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and assorted hangers-on (such as myself) get together for stories, fun events, and cameraderie. The 95th has become for me almost like a second family. I'd known individual members of the group for years because of my duties as a writer, and then a few years back the group hired me to write their official unit history. It has been a humbling job, and a huge one. Two years later, the rough draft is done, and covers the group from its creation through the present day. The book is told in narrative form, and mixes hundreds of interviews and unpublished memoirs with official documentation and published history. The 95th spared no expense putting this book out. They flew me to England and to reunions, scanned thousands of documents at the National Archives, and many individuals put in hundreds of hours of work to make the dream come true. Now, the group is in the process of securing a publisher.
The final book is 180,000 words and will also include many rare photographs and other documents, many possibly on an accompanying CD-Rom. I am confidant that this will be a major piece of WWII aviation history, and also that it will be a good read for anyone with more than a casual interest in the lives of the World War Two bomber crewmen and the many vital men who supported them on the ground. The book also tells the story of the English who lived around the base, about how the group re-formed in the early eighties and how it still forges on today despite the fact that its original veteran cadre is rapidly diminishing.
I am looking forward to seeing my '95th Family' again in a few days, and sharing memories and quality time with these great people.
Click here for the Reunion Agenda: http://95thbg.org/reunion_2009/eventsRE09.htm