The concept for a 398th Memorial Monument at the old base area in Nuthampstead, England developed from the ruminations of two fine English gentlemen named Malcolm Osborn and Vic Jenkins. Through the post WWII years they were in the habit of making regular visits to the remains of the old base, walking around on the old runways listening to the skylarks melodic songs and then visiting our favorite pub.

There was always the thought that maybe some day, some 398ers could be persuaded to return. Sometime in the late 1970's, Malcolm (Ozzie) and Vic decided to "expand our ideas to encompass the possibility of erecting a memorial to the 398th, something that would convey all our feelings about, and in the memory of, all those young airmen who took to the sky at Nuthampstead, set course for the enemy's country and failed to return. These brave airmen died in the wreckage of their aircraft scattered over a foreign soil. Their sacrifice should never be forgotten. A memorial would help to achieve this aim." This quote from writings by Malcolm Osborn.

So their hopes began and through the following numbers of years great things did happen. First was their solicitation of 398th veterans to assist with ideas. This help came with names like Herman Hager, Charles (Chuck) Dryer and Ed Arbuthnot . There were many details to work out and problems to be solved. One design from a number of proposals was chosen, based on the tail section of the B-17, but was rejected as too costly. While struggling with the final design and concept for the memorial a suitable site for its location had to be found.

A meeting was called of the local landowners and various sites were discussed. The present site of the Memorial was offered by Mr. Robert Dimsdale. Funds were donated from a Memorial Committee located stateside supported by the special efforts of Dick Frazier and Jack Davis.

The design, manufacture and installation of the Monument as it exists today, required months of effort by Ozzie and Vic. Some of the many people involved were the Planning Authorities, stone masons, Peter Hindmarch for designs and plans, Percy Knife for mapping, Les and Marge Elder, the then owners of the Woodman and Barry Tyler for the final landscaping at the Memorial site. Although there was great happiness with the final creation of the Memorial, there was sadness in the death of Herman Hager, who had contributed so much, before the project was completed.

The 398th Memorial Momument was dedicated on September 21, 1982 by the first of many well organized and enthusiastic 398th reunion returns to old base area. It was a magnificent event, well attended by veteran 398ers and their families and with many English friends. Interestingly, the dedication service was seriously interrupted by a rare and mysterious windstorm (Hell from Heaven), but was also highlighted by a fly over by the Sally B, the B-17 from Duxford. The 398th Memorial Association is so very proud to have this magnificent monument right there at the old base to signify its combat history. In the years since 1982, many more English Friends and hundreds of 398ers have appreciated and taken up the spirit that this Memorial represents. We owe these great friends so very much, but we will not forget Malcolm (Ozzie) Osborn and Vic Jenkins and what they accomplished for us.

Randy Stange, 398th member and son of 398th veteran Raymond P. Stange, took the above photograph in June 2002. Text Contributed by Wally Blackwell, President 398th Bomb Group Memorial Association. If you would like to add information about this photo, please contact our 398th Photo Historian. The Photo Reference Number is PR06.