Will Fluman's account

2002 Mini - Reunion Peterborough, England
May 25th to 29th, 2002
By Will Fluman (President)

When we started the preliminary planning for our tenth Mini - Reunion in Peterborough, we were expecting that this would likely be one of the smaller groups to return to Glatton. You folks really proved us wrong, with one of the largest groups to ever make this trip.

Gordon Townsend and John Walker again handled all the arrangements over there. Their planning, hard work and attention to detail made this a very enjoyable reunion for all of us.

The high point of our Sunday visit to the old Glatton air base is our own memorial service at the 457th monument in the Conington Churchyard. Over the past few years, we have expanded our service by inviting a RAF Padre to participate, holding the initial portion of the service inside the church and displaying the colors at the church yard part of the service. Gordon was very instrumental in making these revisions. This year, Larry McMahon placed the traditional 457th wreath at the base of our monument.

As we moved on to the air base, we stopped at the Klingair terminal. Their management always graciously accommodates our visit by closing their operations while we again make that trip down the old main runway.

After an enjoyable pub lunch, we visited Sulgrave Manor, the home of George Washington's ancestors in Northamptonshire. This was a very interesting tour of an impressive home which had some relevance to our history.

On Monday morning, we attended the very formal memorial service at the American Cemetery at Madingley. John Pearson placed the distinctive white Triangle U wreath for the 457th at the base of the Wall of the Missing. At the close of the ceremony, it was good to once more enjoy the fly-over of the lone B-17, the Sally B. This year it made several passes, so most of us were able to get at least one good picture.

In the afternoon, we visited the Imperial War Museum at Duxford. Although the American Air Museum was partially closed so that the exhibits could be repositioned to accommodate the newly restored B-24, there were many other interesting displays for us to view.

Tuesday was Peterborough Day and we enjoyed the Mayor's reception in Town Hall, followed by the meeting in Council Chambers. The afternoon gave us an opportunity to visit the Catherdral and other interesting places around town.

Again, our closing banquet at the Bull was most enjoyable. The meal was great and you just can't find better company than our 457th people. We had a total of 59 in attendance. We had 8 daughters, 4 sons, 2 grandsons. There were 20 men from the old "Fireball" outfit. There would have been 21, except for the very unfortunate illness of George Cole. His daughters had planned a great trip for George and they did get to Peterborough but George was admitted to the hospital there. Eight men returned to Glatton for the first time since 1945.

We introduced all the VIPs in attendance. We had almost the entire ruling body of the 8th Air Force Historical Society, Craig Harris, Ken Nail and John Pearson. All three are also either past or present officers in our association. We had past president Bill Siler, director and group contact Joe Toth, and legal advisor, author and historian Jim Bass. And our newest English member and former mayor of Peterborough, Ray Pobgee.

So we closed out our tenth Mini - Reunion in Peterborough with best wishes and sincere intentions to meet in Rapid City in 2003.

The following is a list of attendees at the Peterborough reunion

Bass, Jim Fluman, Will Jr. Wall, J. J.
Burke, Rex Fluman, Candace Lacey, Jay
Branham, Bill Furr, Jack Smith, Bill
Cole, George Streeval, Jack McMahon, Larry
Cole, Katherine     Geary, Loretta Frank, Kurt
Saddler, Rebecca Harris, Craig Mihalik, Peter
Connelly, Pat Moore, Becky Morse, Bill & Erika
DeCunzo, Lou & Roz Hoffman, Art Nail, Ken & Etheida
DeLuccia, Joe Hoffman, Mark Bozeman, Thomas & Susan
DeLuccia, Emil Heidenreich, Vaughn & Mary   Pearson, John
Dobler, Champe Kollaja, Alvin & Clare Peters, Elroy & Dorothy
Elliot, Thomas Kabine, Bill Swanson, Dwight & Nadine
Floyd, David & Cynthia   Kabine, Pamela Toth, Joe
Fluman, Will Wall, Karan Siler, Bill

English Historians
Baines, Sadie, John & Marge
Townsend, Gordon & Ros
Walker, John & Sylvia Kerry
Pobgee, Ray & Enid

Submitted by;
Will Fluman, President