The 55th Wing traces it's
lineage to the 55th Pursuit (Interceptor) Group constituted
on 20 November 1940 and activated 15 January 1941 at
Hamilton Field, California. During World War II, the 55th
Fighter Group garnered two Distinguished Unit Citations. The
group fostered 16 aces who were credited with 90 air-to-air
victories. Its last mission flew on 21 April 1945 and
inactivation occurred on 20 August 1946.
Stations: Nuthampstead 16 Sep. 1943 to 16 Apr. 1944
Wormingford 16 Apr. 1944 to 21 Jul.
see also: http://www.55th.org/
AAF Fighter Cmd. "Little Friends"
The Nuthampstead Airfield Research Society
--Some images of the 55th FG monument at Nuthampstead
Proposed Nuthampstead Airfield Museum (print out the
Air Museum Newsletter Dec 2010
Air Museum Newsletter Dec 2011
--- See also 398th.org web
Nuthampstead Airfield Museum!!!!!
We are thrilled to announce that plans are in the process
for a museum to keep the history of the 398th Bomb Group and
the 55th Fighter Group alive. The museum will be located
adjacent to the airfield at the rear of The Woodman Inn in
Nuthampstead, England. The trustees, Andrew Grisbrooke,
Geoff Rice, Russell Abbey, Marilyn Gibb-Rice and Christine
Barry have been meeting and planning since October 2009 to
dream come true. Fundraising began in June and received a
huge boost once plans were announced at the 398th Bomb Group
Memorial Association annual reunion in Denver. The
fundraising effort has begun with “Founding Memberships” to
the museum. These memberships are limited to 131 US and 131
UK members. Each US member will receive a plaque with a
piece of a B17 recovered from the airfield and a small piece
of Station 131 runway and a certificate. Each UK member will
receive a plaque and a CD of photos taken at the station
during 1944/45. Efforts so far are nearing the halfway point
to pay for the structure of the building. If you wish to
join this exciting endeavor and become a founding member,
please see the following information: US Founding Members
send your $200 check payable to 398th Bomb Group to:
398th Bomb Group Memorial Association
Breakwater Path Dr.
Houston, TX 77044-1112
UK Founding Members send your £131 cheque payable to
Nuthampstead Airfield Museum to:
Memberships can be purchased in your name or “in honor of”
or “in memory of” someone special. If you have any questions
or should you have any items that you would like to donate
to the museum, please contact Geoff Rice at email@example.com or
Christine Barry at firstname.lastname@example.org
(Yes, all donations (not dues/subscriptions) to the
398th are tax-deductible. The donor needs to have to show
the IRS either a receipt from us or their canceled
check/copy, and we need to maintain our 501(c)19 status or
change to a 501(c)3. The same goes for the donations to the
398th to the NAM. If the check goes directly to the NAM, it
cannot be deducted by them.)
The President of the
in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor
LAWLEY, WILLIAM R., JR.
Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S.
Army Air Corps, 364th Bomber Squadron, 305th
Bomber Group. Place and date: Over Europe, 20
February 1944. Entered service at: Birmingham,
Ala. Born: 23 August 1920, Leeds, Ala. G.O. No.:
64, 8 August 1944.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in
action above and beyond the call of duty, 20
February 1944, while serving as pilot of a B-17
aircraft on a heavy bombardment mission over
enemy-occupied continental Europe. Coming off
the target he was attacked by approximately 20
enemy fighters, shot out of formation, and his
plane severely crippled. Eight crewmembers were
wounded, the copilot was killed by a 20-mm.
shell. One engine was on fire, the controls shot
away, and 1st Lt. Lawley seriously and painfully
wounded about the face. Forcing the copilot's
body off the controls, he brought the plane out
of a steep dive, flying with his left hand only.
Blood covered the instruments and windshield and
visibility was impossible. With a full bomb load
the plane was difficult to maneuver and bombs
could not be released because the racks were
frozen. After the order to bail out had been
given, 1 of the waist gunners informed the pilot
that 2 crewmembers were so severely wounded that
it would be impossible for them to bail out.
With the fire in the engine spreading, the
danger of an explosion was imminent. Because of
the helpless condition of his wounded
crewmembers 1st Lt. Lawley elected to remain
with the ship and bring them to safety if it was
humanly possible, giving the other crewmembers
the option of bailing out. Enemy fighters again
attacked but by using masterful evasive action
he managed to lose them. One engine again caught
on fire and was extinguished by skillful flying.
1st Lt. Lawley remained at his post, refusing
first aid until he collapsed from sheer
exhaustion caused by loss of blood, shock, and
the energy he had expended in keeping control of
his plane. He was revived by the bombardier and
again took over the controls. Coming over the
English coast 1 engine ran out of gasoline and
had to be feathered. Another engine started to
burn and continued to do so until a successful
crash landing was made on a small fighter base.
Through his heroism and exceptional flying
skill, 1st Lt. Lawley rendered outstanding
and valorous service to our Nation.