About the Second Air Division Digital Archive

This website allows members of the public to access an archive of unique and rare documents, including photographs, memoirs and correspondence, which has been created and collected by veterans of the Second Air Division of the United States Army Air Force who served during the Second World War. Until now, the archive has only been available to visitors to Norwich, England.

The Second Air Division

The Second Air Division was one of the three divisions of the Eighth United States Army Air Force. Famously, during the Second World War, it deployed the largest air strike force ever committed to battle. When the Second Air Division was at full strength, it controlled fourteen heavy bomber airfields in Norfolk and northeast Suffolk, and five fighter airfields. Its headquarters was located at Ketteringham Hall in Norfolk. Sadly, nearly 7,000 young Americans in the Second Air Division lost their lives in the line of duty.

The Second Air Division Memorial Library

With peace, the Second Air Division chose to honour its casualties through a unique library in Norwich, which would act as an educational and friendship bridge between the United States and the United Kingdom. Located in the landmark Forum building in the centre of Norwich, the Library has a lending collection of over 4,000 books covering all aspects of American life and culture, and a specialist collection devoted to the history of the Second Air Division. For more information, please visit www.2ndair.org.uk.

The Second Air Division Memorial Library archive

The archive consists of over 200 boxes of unique material. It has been built up over several decades and is preserved at the Norfolk Record Office’s purpose-built archive storage facility, where it is available for research. The archive is preserved by the Norfolk Record Office on behalf of the Second Air Division Memorial Library. A full catalogue of the collection is available at http://nrocat.norfolk.gov.uk/DServe/public/searches/nrousaaf.htm.

The Norfolk Record Office

The Norfolk Record Office is the local authority run archive service for the county of Norfolk in the United Kingdom. It maintains secure storage facilities, which are designed to preserve archive material using appropriate packaging and environmentally controlled conditions. It also allows free access to records in its public searchroom. For more information, please visit http://www.archives.norfolk.gov.uk/.

Things to know about this website

The purpose of this website is to allow members of the public to consult the archive instead of visiting the Norfolk Record Office. Each document is digitized as it would be produced in the searchroom. A document, otherwise known as an archival piece, could be made up of one or two items, or several dozen; for example all the pages of a photograph album or several papers which form a bundle. The catalogue information is reproduced on this website and describes the archival piece as a whole, and not individual documents within it.

In some instances, it has not been possible to include all the content from a document on this website even though it can be consulted in the Norfolk Record Office’s supervised public searchroom. There are many reasons for this, such as a lack of copyright permission, or the inclusion of personal and sensitive information. If part of a document has not been included on this website, this is noted in the catalogue information which accompanies the digital images.

If an archival piece contains published material, such as a published memoir or article, then the first page has been digitized and shown on the website, but not the rest of the published item. If a published item contains significant annotations, then the pages containing the annotations have also been included.

When citing an image in research, please acknowledge that the original is held by the Norfolk Record Office and please cite the Catalogue Reference as it appears on the website under the section entitled Document Information, e.g. MC 371/444. If you are contacting the Norfolk Record Office or Second Air Division Memorial Library about a specific image, please cite the filename as it appears under the section entitled Image Information.

Personal information

Some of the archival documents included on the website feature personal information. Where we know that information is still current, we have endeavoured to obtain permission from the individuals concerned to include it on the website. If you see anything on this website which relates to you and you have concerns about its inclusion on the website, please contact the Second Air Division Memorial Library (The Forum, Millennium Plain, Norwich, Norfolk, NR2 1AW, United Kingdom; e-mail 2admemorial.lib@norfolk.gov.uk).

Finding things on this website

So that you don’t have to wade through thousands of documents looking for the things that might interest you, we have grouped the collection into themes.

You can look at all documents related to ‘Combat and other units’ which contains records arranged by headquarters, bomb and fighter groups and other support units. If you are more interested in ‘Aircraft and equipment’, this theme contains sections on different types of aircraft and other equipment used by the Division. If you would like to know about where the Division was stationed and other places that it was connected to then have a look at ‘Places’. Do you know someone who served in the Second Air Division? If so, you might be interested in ‘Wartime and remembrance’ which has sections containing records on missions and incidents, leisure time, people and remembrance (including medals and memorials), as well as information about wartime Norfolk.

If you are looking for a particular type of document rather than subject matter, then you’ll be able to find it in the ‘Documents by type’ section, which contains sub-sections of all the different types of documents we have. If you have no idea what to look for, then why not start with our Highlights’, where we have included ten of our archivists’ particular favourites, to give you a sense of what the archive is all about.

The themes we have chosen are fairly wide ranging and many of the documents appear in more than one theme. We have colour coded the themes to remind you which theme you are looking at. Documents which are included in multiple themes will display with the colour of the theme you have currently selected.

If you want to search for more specific information, then you can use the text Searchs or type your text into the box at the top of each page. For detailed and complex searches, you can also use the Norfolk Record Office’s online catalogue (http://nrocat.norfolk.gov.uk/DServe/public/searches/nrousaaf.htm), from which you will find links to the digitized documents.


The digitization of these records has been made possible through a generous donation from the legacy of Bernard Newmark, a veteran of the 458th Bomb Group (Horsham St Faith) made through the 2nd Air Division Memorial Trust. The Second Air Division Memorial Library and Trust, and the Norfolk Record Office are also grateful to a wide range of institutions and individuals who have given permission for documents to be included on the website. These include the veterans and their families who have contributed documents to the archive, Archant newspapers, Marjorie Lund-Fontaine and the National Archives and Records Administration. The Second Air Division Memorial Library and Norfolk Record Office have endeavoured to the best of their abilities to trace and contact rights holders to the material included on the website. However, it has not always been possible to identify who the correct rights holder is or to contact them. The Norfolk Record Office welcomes contact from anyone who thinks they own the rights to documents shown on the website. For such instances, please refer to our Image Use