Airfield commanders thank Nell
PAST and present commanding airfield officers thanked a 98-year-old woman for "opening her house and heart" to them and their aircrews.Nell Bloor and her late husband Stephen made their home in Nettlestead a sanctuary for pilots based at Wattisham Airfield during the Second World War and showed their support for the airfield after the conflict was over.
PAST and present commanding airfield officers thanked a 98-year-old woman for "opening her house and heart" to them and their aircrews.
Nell Bloor and her late husband Stephen made their home in Nettlestead a sanctuary for pilots based at Wattisham Airfield during the Second World War and showed their support for the airfield after the conflict was over.
Albert Myers, a retired USAAF Lieutenant Colonel who served as a fighter pilot at the airfield from 1944-1945, and Chris Stone, a retired RAF Air Commodore who was also a fighter pilot at Wattisham in the 1960s and 1970s, flew from America to thank Mrs Bloor for her "graciousness and hospitality".
They presented a bronze plaque to her yesterdayfor the Garden of Remembrance at her home, which commemorates the pilots and aircrew of the RAF's Number Two Group and the 479th Fighter Group, 8th Air Force, of the USAAF who flew from Wattisham between 1939 and 1945.
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Lt Col George Butler, the commanding officer of Three Regiment Army Air Corp, and his men held a minute's silence before a helicopter from the airfield flew overhead.
Mrs Bloor, who was celebrating her birthday, said: "A table was laid out for 12 for the whole of the war. As we lost them of course it was heart breaking. We didn't ask why a pilot wasn't here; we just took a chair away.
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"I was very privileged to do a war time job from my house. I did not give up anything, except my emotions of course. I certainly wasn't by any means being generous. I was privileged to have the place to do it and I loved it. I love people so really I was indulging myself."
Mr Stone said: "Returning from their gruelling missions over Germany, the crews would always find a warm welcome, and a home from home atmosphere at Nettlestead Chace.
"Conscious of the difficulties caused by separation of young married couples in those days, Nell and Stephen made their bedrooms available for wives of the RAF crews to visit whenever possible, to spend some precious time near their husbands.
"All too frequently there were sadnesses when crews failed to return, but Nell and Stephen were always there to comfort, and they made sure that these boys would never be forgotten."
Mr Myers said: "In the years following the war, Nell and Stephen had paving stones laid around a small pool on their estate – a place where pilots often sat and partied – and on those stones they had the names engraved of pilots that failed to return from their missions.
"It was a mark of the genuine and deep affection that Nell and Stephen Fuller held for their RAF and American friends."
Lt Col Butler said: "We are the current custodians of Wattisham airfield and the reason we came here is to support Mrs Bloor and to show our thanks for everything she has done in the past for Wattisham and her close interest in the airfield.