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4th Fighter Group at Debden

History

The 4th Fighter Group was the longest-serving fighter unit in the European Theatre of Operations.

It was stationed at Debden airfield in Essex, England, from September 1942 until July 1945.

Many of its pilots were original members of the RAF Eagles, a group of Americans who volunteered to serve in the RAF before the United States declared war.

The 4th scored more victories than any other USAAF Eighth Air Force unit and was the first to engage the Luftwaffe over both Paris and Berlin.

Its crews participated in D-Day, Operation Market Garden, the Battle of the Bulge and the initial crossing of the Rhine.

The group had taken 583 victories in the air and 489 on the ground by the war's end.

However they were hit hard by casualties after serving for so long: 248 aircraft were lost, 125 men were killed in action and 105 pilots became POWs.

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