Bedford (England) - Aerial View of the County Town of Bedfordshire in May 1945

Published on July 25, 2019
Bedford (England) - Aerial View of the County Town of Bedfordshire in May 1945

This photo was taken by airmen of the 306th Bombardment Group (Heavy) in May 1945. The 306th Bombardment Group was stationed at Thurleigh Airfield in World War II. It was the first US bomber group to bomb Germany after the United States of America joined the war in 1942. The group flew the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress aircraft. From 1942 to 1944 the B-17s stationed there, flew 10,000 sorties, dropping 23,000 tonnes of explosives on enemy targets. Thurleigh Airfield was very important, it was the first to be handed over to the US Air Force. The 306 Bomb Group and Thurleigh Airfield played a pivotal role in the war effort.

The aerial photo should be taken shortly after take-off or before landing during the airfield traffic pattern, also known as circuit. At the top of the photo - unfortunately overexposed - Thurleigh Airfield is located, approximately five miles north of Bedford. On the lower, left side of the photo there is the Church of the Holy Trinity. This church is located on the north east side of Bromham Road in the grounds of the Bedford Sixth Form College. Since 1980 the building is used as dining room for the college.

Photo-ID: 306BG46

Source: Google Earth

Trolley Mission

This website analyzes extraordinary sightseeing tours of Germany at the end of the European War (Second World War). In May 1945, there were non-stop observation flights over Germany - subsequently referred to as “Trolley Missions”. During these low-level flights across Europe and Germany aerial photos were taken showing the bomb damages of German cities.