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'Return to Hardwick'

Film screening preserves bomb group’s history

The award-winning documentary, "Return to Hardwick" -- Home of the 93rd Bomb Group, will be screened at The Museum of Flight. Photo courtesy Michael Sellers

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A historically significant and award-winning documentary about the 93rd Bomb Group of the Eighth Air Force during World War II, which was based at Hardwick Airfield, Station 104, England, will be presented at The Museum of Flight in Seattle.

Return to Hardwick, Home of the 93rd Bomb Group, will be shown at 1 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 26.

Film director Michael Sellers (director, producer and editor) and actor Michael Cudlitz (narrator) from HBO's Band of Brothers and AMC's The Walking Dead, will be on hand to talk and answer questions.

The hour-long screening and discussion are free with museum admission.

"This project is very close to me," Sellers wrote in a press release. "My grandfather was a veteran of World War II and 18 years ago I attended my first 93rd Bomb Group reunion in England with him. I was awestruck at finding out what he did as a bombardier during the war."

The 93rd Bombardment Group was an American strategic bomber unit stationed in the East Anglia section of England at Hardwick Airfield, Station 104.

Over time, veterans, family members and friends meet annually at group reunions in order to focus on educating future generations. During a 2013 trip back to Hardwick, some of the group's members met Sellers and proposed the idea for the documentary.

Then in 2015, Ed Reilly, a 93rd Group veteran, wrote an article about his return to Hardwick Airfield in 1975. In great detail, he gave an account of what it was like to be on the base and flying as a radio operator in a B-24.

A voice actor was hired to read Reilly's article and a seven-minute sequence was edited and screened at the 2015 93rd Bomb Group reunion.

From then until 2018, Sellers donated his time and equipment to work on the project, bringing it to the veterans at their annual meetings to view the  progress.

Sellers said that in the documentary, three second-generation members of the 93rd are followed. 

"It was important to not only tell the history of the group during the war but to tell the stories of the veterans and their families, too," he said.

The 93rd Bomb Group played a significant role in defeating Germany.

It was the first B-24 unit to arrive in England; it had the most deployments of any bomb group away from their airfield; it was the most decorated group, to include two Medals of Honor; it conducted the most missions of any bomb group in the 8th Air Force; the group's 329th Bomb Squadron was the first to penetrate German airspace in January 1943; and, to top it all off, it appeared on the cover of Life Magazine.

"This is a wonderful way to honor ... to honor that group and to honor all the men and women ... it shows the common ground that these men and women shared during that time," Cudlitz said during a screening this past June at the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force.

Today, most of Hardwick Airfield, Station 104, is farmland; however, through the use of computer generated imagery, viewers will have the opportunity to step back in time.

A 93rd Bomb Group historian and a local guide bring a "feet-on-the-ground" perspective to viewers in discovering what happened at the deserted airbase some 70-plus years ago.

"I want audiences to leave the theater feeling a little more educated about the war," concluded Sellers.

"These men and women are heroes."

The Museum of Flight, 9404 East Marginal Way S, Seattle,

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