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The 401st Bombardment Group Historical Society is an important part of the history and traditions of the Group. The Historical Society was originally formed in the early 1970s by a small group of history-oriented Englishmen and their wives who lived in towns near Deenethorpe. As youngsters they had watched the B-17s of the 401st fly overhead as they took off and returned from bombing missions during the War. Time has sadly reduced the numbers of these founders, but younger members have joined up over the years to carry on in their footsteps.

Individually and collectively they have conducted research into the Group's activities, collected artifacts associated with the Group and its aircraft, acted as hosts and guides for veterans who returned to Deenethorpe in the post-war period, planned and hosted 401st reunions held in England, maintained the 401st Group Memorial located at the site of the airfield and represented the Group in ceremonies held in England involving the U. S. Air Force. Members of the Historical Society have attended many of the Association's reunions, and their role in maintaining the history and traditions has been recognized by making them Honorary Members of the 401st Bombardment Group Association.

Two former members of the Historical Society who are now deceased deserve special mention.

Mr. S. V. (Vic) Maslen devoted literally thousands of hours prior to his retirement and all of his free time after retirement into researching and compiling the records of the 401st Bomb Group in World War II. The result of his efforts is a series of a dozen volumes detailing the history of each of the Group's four squadrons and records of individual crews, aircraft and missions -- probably the most complete and accurate record of any group in the Eighth Air Force.

Mr. Ron Sismey, who was an accomplished local historian and author, was a regular speaker at Association reunions and a frequent host at functions for 401st veterans at his home in Weldon, a short distance from the airfield.




Current members of the Society include the following:

Mr. Graham D. Bratley, Chairman

Mr. Ray Corby

Mr. Paul Bellamy

Mr. Jeff Hawley

Mr. Bratley can be reached by e-mail at Historical Society Historical Society

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