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Masters of the Air

The Mighty Eighth over the Skies of Europe
April 20-27, 2018

Tour Overview

Masters of the Air is a story of life in wartime England, in bombed-out London, and in the tiny hamlets these brash young Americans completely transformed. In East Anglia, many airmen fell in love with British girls they met in the local pubs, and over 45,000 American servicemen brought home English brides after the war. The beautiful countryside and stately manor homes give way to the remains of air bases, some of them with their control towers still visible on the skyline.

Stand where history was made

Aircraft and Airfelds

The rural farmland of East Anglia became the headquarters for the “Bomber War.” Villages, with prewar populations in the hundreds, suddenly buzzed with the energy of thousands of pilots, crew, and support staff carrying out the missions to bring about the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany. Almost daily, citizens of villages such as Thorpe Abbotts, Rougham, and Horham would hear the roar of the engines and watch B-17s, B-24s, and ghter escorts take to the skies. This was a new type of warfare, a war waged from the skies against an unseen enemy.

Learn Their Names

Aces, Warriors, and Wingmen

The duties of a bomber crew were vastly different from that of the ground troops. The crew of a B-17 was able to live in relative quiet for the majority of their service. But when the combat mission came, it was intense, chaotic, and dangerous. One critical malfunction, one piece of flak, or one error could mean death or capture for all. The noise was deafening, the air was cold, and the enemy could hear the approach. Each successful mission only brought about the prospect of more. For men like Robert “Rosie” Rosenthal, Louis Loevsky, and Eugene Carson, each mission was either one step closer to the end of the war or one step closer to an unfortunate end.

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Tour Inclusions

  • Eight-day journey through the heart of East Anglia & London
  • Seven breakfasts, five lunches, and five dinners
  • Welcome and farewell receptions
  • Free-flow coffee, tea, water, soft drinks, beer, wine, and spirits at included lunches and dinners
  • Comprehensive lecture series from renowned WWII historian Donald L. Miller, PhD
  • Full-time logistical tour manager, expert WWII-focused local guides and guest speakers
  • Round-trip airport transfers when arriving/departing on scheduled tour dates
  • Two nights at the five-star Hotel Gonville, Cambridge, three nights at the five-star Angel Hotel, Bury St. Edmunds, and two nights at the four-star Rubens at the Palace, London
  • Private, first-class, air-conditioned motor coach transportation
  • VIP access to WWII sites and cultural attractions
  • Video oral history presentations from the Museum's Digital Collection
  • Personal listening devices on all included excursions
  • Gratuities for guides, drivers, porters, and servers
  • Informative map book including useful archival images to be used throughout the journey
  • Document wallet, personalized luggage tags, and souvenir name badge
  • Personal journal and pen to document your journey through history
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Download the official Masters of the Air brochure for a full listing of inclusions, accommodations, and other useful information.

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Masters of the Air

Tour Itinerary

Destination Map

Full Tour Itinerary

April 20, 2018 - Day 1

London/Cambridge

Upon arrival at London Heathrow Airport, guests are warmly welcomed by Museum staff and by Donald L. Miller himself. Depart for Cambridge with a lunch stop along the way. This evening, enjoy a welcome dinner with the group.

The Gonville hotel (D)

April 21, 2018 - Day 2

Cambridge History, Transformation & Sacrifice

After breakfast, Dr. Miller will give a presentation on the Eighth Air Force and an introduction to the tour. The first stop will be a chance to reflect upon the carnage of the “Bomber War” at the Cambridge American Cemetery. The cemetery contains the remains of 3,812 of our military dead, and 5,127 names are recorded on the Tablets of the Missing. Most died in the Battle of the Atlantic or in bombing raids over Hitler’s Reich. In the afternoon, visit the Churchill Archives at Cambridge University. Winston Churchill's official papers along with those of 600 other British figures of the 20th Century. Contemporaries of Winston Churchill sit alongside major political, military and scientic figures such as Margaret Thatcher, Ernest Bevin, John Major, Neil Kinnock, Admiral Ramsay, and Field Marshal Slim.

The Gonville Hotel (B, L, R, D)

April 22, 2018 - Day 3

Thorpe Abbotts

Today begins at Thorpe Abbotts, the wartime base of the 100th Bombardment Group, “The Bloody Hundredth,” as the group was called, for the staggering losses its B-17 crews suffered in daylight raids over Germany and Nazi occupied Europe. The Hundredth is the group that will be featured in the forthcoming HBO dramatic series Masters of the Air. A celebratory visit to the airbase includes Eighth Air Force reenactors and a fish-and-chips wagon to bring back the feel of the 1940s. Our hosts, the local villagers, will meet us and show us around the air base they have lovingly brought back to life. Many of them were there as young boys and girls when the Americans fliers arrived in the spring of 1943, and they have wonderful stories to share with us.

The group continues to nearby Horham, home of the 95th Bombardment Group, one of the most decorated air units of the war. The villagers who restored the base will host a pub party in their officer’s club, with dancing to the music of their own Glenn Miller Band.

Angel Hotel (B, L, D)

April 23, 2018 - Day 4

Rougham

From Bury St. Edmunds, also known as Rougham Air Field, the men of the 94th Bomb Group flew more than 300 missions over the German Reich. The Rougham Control Tower is one of the best-preserved military buildings in the region, and a dedicated group of volunteers carries on the legacy of the Americans who called Bury St. Edmunds home for almost three years. This afternoon and evening, take advantage of Bury St. Edmund's historic charm with a visit to one of the many local pubs or a stroll through the magnificent Abbey Gardens.

Angel Hotel (B, L)

April 24, 2018 - Day 5

American Air Museum, Duxford

The American Air Museum, part of Imperial War Museums of Great Britain, is located at Duxford near Cambridge. It is home to the best collection of American military aircraft on public display outside of North America. We will visit the spectacular new American Air Museum, winner of a number of architectural awards. The museum features the warplanes and equipment of not only the Eighth Air Force, but also of aircraft that flew before and after World War II. The historians and curators who designed the exhibits will be our hosts. After lunch on your own on the Museum’s campus, we will witness a simulated dogfight between a British Spitfire, like the one featured in the recent film, Dunkirk, and a Messerschmitt Bf 109 in the skies over Duxford. The experience is designed exclusively for our group. After returning to Bury St. Edmunds, one of the most beautiful towns in England, we will drop in at the historic Greene King Brewery for a tour, a beer tasting, and dinner. The Greene King Brewery was kept in business during the war thanks to Academy Award-winning actor and Eighth Air Commander Jimmy Stewart, who ordered trucks of its foaming lager every week for the thirsty air crews of the 453rd Bombardment Group, stationed at Old Buckenham, a bomber base not far from Bury St. Edmunds.

Angel Hotel (B, D)

April 25, 2018 - Day 6

Churchill's London

Bid farewell to East Anglia and enjoy a scenic return to London as Dr. Miller relays stories of the man who inspired the free world, Sir Winston S. Churchill. At the Churchill War Rooms, explore the underground bunker that protected the staff and secrets at the heart of Britain’s government during World War II. See the Map Room where Churchill and his war cabinet directed the British war effort. After an included lunch at a splendid London pub frequented by members of Parliament, spend the afternoon at the recently renovated Imperial War Museum London, renowned for its exhibits on World War I, The Holocaust, the Air War, and the British Home Front during World War II. Explore London on your own this evening. Our hotel, the historic Rubens at the Palace, overlooks the Royal Mews of Buckingham Palace and moments away from Victoria Station and some of London's best shops and restaurants.

Rubens at the Palace (B, L)

April 26, 2018 - Day 7

The Royal Air Force

The day begins with a visit to St. Clement Danes Church, the spiritual heart of the Royal Air Force. Destroyed by a German air raid in 1941, the RAF spearheaded the effort to rebuild the church, an artistic gem. Outside the building, are statues of Arthur "Bomber" Harris, head of the RAF’s Bomber Command, and Hugh Dowding, who directed the Battle of the Britain and air operations over Dunkirk. After an afternoon to explore London, reconvene in the evening for a dinner at the renowned RAF Club and a visit to the new Bomber Command Memorial, just across the street.

Royal Horseguards (B, L, R, D)

April 27, 2018 - Day 8

Flight home from London Heathrow Airport

Bid farewell to your fellow tour guests as you return home from London Heathrow Airport.

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Masters of the Air

Featured Guests & Historians

Tour Guide & Featured Historian

Donald L. Miller, PhD
Author, Masters of Air

Historian and best-selling author Donald L. Miller, PhD, and his book Masters of the Air: America's Bomber Boys Who Fought The Air War Against Nazi Germany are the inspiration for this program. Miller's masterful storytelling brings to life the air bases, landscape, and history of East Anglia. His passion for the men of the Eighth Air Force creates an emotional experience available only through this program.

Miller is a seasoned veteran of The National WWII Museum’s educational travel program, having led sold-out tours on Normandy, the Battle of the Bulge and the Mediterranean. Masters of the Air was selected to serve as the foundation for HBO’s forthcoming dramatic miniseries of the same name, produced by Tom Hanks and Stephen Spielberg. Miller has appeared in dozens of PBS and History Channel programs. He narrated and helped to produce and write the award-winning PBS series A Biography of America. He is the author of nine books, including the prize- winning City of the Century: The Epic of Chicago and The Making of America, The Story of World War II, and D-Days in the Pacific. He currently sits on the Museum’s Presidential Counselors advisory board.

don miller
Masters of the Air

Veterans Spotlight

Our Heroes

General Henry H. "Hap" Arnold
June 25, 1886 - January 15, 1950

General Henry H. “Hap” Arnold's name is synonymous with the development of the US Army Air Forces (USAAF) between World War I and World War II. Taught to fly by the Wright brothers, Arnold worked closely with President Franklin Roosevelt in the late 1930s to build a powerful American Air Arm. During World War II, he was Commander General of the US Army Air Forces worldwide. In that capacity, he directed—from Washington, DC—the US strategic bombing campaign against Nazi Germany. This was a massive effort to destroy the enemy’s wartime industrial machine, including its major factories, rail yards, and synthetic oil refineries. His principal contribution to victory in Europe was the Air Forces’ destruction of the Luftwaffe, the most powerful flying force in the world at the start of the war. That victory made possible the Normandy invasion.

hap
Our Heroes

Lieutenant Colonel Robert "Rosie" Rosenthal
1917-2007

Lieutenant Colonel Robert “Rosie” Rosenthal was one of the most decorated airmen of the 8th Air Force. Working at a law firm in Manhattan in 1941, Rosenthal, a star athlete at Brooklyn College, enlisted the day after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. He was assigned to the 100th Bombardment Group at Thorpe Abbotts. A portrait of his plane, Royal Flush, hangs in the halls of the US Congress. The artist depicts Royal Flush's return from his third mission of the war, to Münster, Germany, the only one of the group’s 13 B-17s to return to Thorpe Abbotts that day.

Less than a year later, Rosenthal was shot down over France, breaking his arm and nose. He resumed flying one month after being released from the hospital. He was shot down one more time, on his 52nd mission, and was rescued by the Red Army and returned to England. By the war’s end, he had flown 52 missions, 27 more than were required. In June 1946, Rosenthal returned to his career in law as an assistant to the United States Prosecutor at the Nuremberg War Trials, where one of his fellow litigators was a beautiful navy attorney he met onboard the ocean liner that carried them to Germany. They married in Nuremberg.

Rosenthal is one of the three lead characters in the upcoming HBO dramatic series Masters of the Air.

rosie
Masters of the Air

Accommodations

Featured Hotel

Hotel Gonville Cambridge

Winner of multiple accolades for quality, this hotel originated in 1830 as the Gonville & Caius College as a house for one of the college’s Senior Fellows. This lovely hotel offers everything you'll need for the perfect stay in this beautiful and historic city, and is an ideal location for an easy stroll to the city's attractions; it also boasts a view overlooking 25 acres of open parkland. Guests will enjoy both a casual Brasserie, as well as Cotto, their fine dining venue on-site. Accommodations are spacious, with coffee machine, Smart TV, robe and slippers, air-conditioning, pillow menu, and premium bath amenities.

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Featured Hotel

Angel Hotel Bury St. Edmunds

A contemporary boutique hotel set in the heart of historic Bury St. Edmunds, The Angel is a sumptuous haven for our guests. The individuality of each room makes staying here a truly personal and luxurious experience. The hotel offers multiple dining and meal venues, including the Wingspan Bar. Fashioned out of the secret tunnels that run under much of Bury St. Edmunds, the bar is created from half an aircraft engine, tables designed from airplane doors, and sofas covered in German flour sacks.

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Featured Hotel

Rubens at the Palace

For your stay in London, we are pleased to offer accommodations at the luxurious Rubens at the Palace Hotel, a historic property that dates back to the 1700s and has served royalty throughout the centuries since. Overlooking the Royal Mews of Buckingham Palace The Rubens is moments away from Victoria Station and some of London's best shops and restaurants. Amenities include 24-hour room service, complimentary Wi-Fi access, luxury toiletries, plush bathrobes, iron and ironing board, and hair dryer.

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Masters of the Air

Tour Pricing

Program Pricing

Price per person based on double occupancy

$5,995

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Price per person based on single occupancy

$7,895

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Masters of the Air

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