Parham: American family make emotional visit to airfield museum

Members of the family of former pilot Albert Richard Harris - including his children (in the front r

Members of the family of former pilot Albert Richard Harris - including his children (in the front row from left) Becky DeGroat, Ron Harris and Lana Thornton - visit Parham Airfield Museum, where he was based during the Second World War. - Credit: Archant

When the family of first lieutenant Albert Richard Harris decided to make the trip to Suffolk from their home in Nashville, Tennessee, they thought it would be an appropriate way to honour his memory.

The former pilot, who passed away in March, aged 89, was based near Framlingham during the Second World War and his nearest and dearest were keen to learn more. But when they arrived at Parham Airfield Museum they made an unexpected and emotional discovery.

Among the exhibits was an eyewitness account from Mr Harris, detailing a mission to the German town of Merseburg on November 30, 1944. It also included flight details and a plan of the aerial formation. Of the 38 390th Bomber Group B-17s that left, only 22 returned. Mr Harris’ craft crash landed and he was held as a prisoner of war in Germany.

Along with other family, his children, Lana Thornton, Becky DeGroat and Ron Harris, all made the trip to Parham. They said: “We came to the UK specifically to visit the museum but we didn’t know the eye witness account was here. It was very emotional to read. We’d like to thank everyone here for preserving all this memorabilia. It’s incredible.”

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