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361st Fighter Group at Little Walden

History

The 361st Fighter Group, with its P-47 Thunderbolts, was first stationed at Bottisham airfield in Cambridgeshire.

This was its home from December 1943 until September 1944.

Operations began on 21 January 1944, its role being bomber escort and ground strafing.

During May 1944 the crews began to fly P-51 Mustang aircraft. The 361st moved to Little Walden Airfield, Essex, in September 1944, continuing their operations of bomber escort and ground support until 1 February 1945.

They were then detached to France and operated from there until 9 April when they returned to Little Walden, remaining there until November 1945.

The group lost 81 pilots over the course of 441 missions, either killed in action, missing in action or taken as prisoners of war.

But these losses were not sustained without the infliction of greater damage on the opposing forces: 226 enemy aircraft were destroyed in the air and 105 on the ground.

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