Thunderbolt Web

North American P-47D Thunderbolt

Joining the static display this year as part of our USAF 75th anniversary celebrations will be the only airworthy example of the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt in Europe, P-47D 'Nellie'. Over 15,600 P-47s were produced and the type served as the primary fighter aircraft of the USAAF throughout World War Two. Affectionately known as the 'Jug', the P-47 was heavily used as an effective high altitude escort fighter for bomber formations in both the Pacific and European theatres. The Jug was also highly successful in the ground attack fighter role due to its ability to carry a relatively heavy load of bombs and rockets coupled with an ability to take significant amounts of damage without being shot down - unlike the more famous P-51 Mustang. This example previously flew in the UK from 1986 to 2007 as 'No Guts, No Glory' before being sold to a US operator and was returned to the UK by Fighter Aviation Engineering Limited in 2018 as Nellie. Nellie carries the markings of a P-47D in service with the 492nd Fighter Squadron in 1944 and the modern 492nd FS are currently based at RAF Lakenheath flying the F-15E Strike Eagle as part of the 48th Fighter Wing.

Photo Credit: Andrew Evans