Help Needed

Identification needed

From time to time I receive scans of photos from people kind enough to submit them for public view. Every so often amongst these there is the odd one or two that baffles both the sender and me. This page is therefore a plea for information. If anybody recognises any of the people or a/c that are not identified in the captions, please let me know by using the e-mail link at the bottom of the page. Needless to say, none of these photos will appear on the group galleries until confirmation of identity is received.

Image number 1

First up is this group shot from Monty Newton. Monty sent in a selection of photos of his late father Lt. Madison H “Dusty” Newton of the 359th FG’s 370th FS plus several photos of others. This shot shows “Dusty” Newton in the rear row holding on to the prop. Identification is needed for the others in the photo. One thing is reasonably certain and that is that none of these others were with the 359th FG. Various 359th veterans have looked at them and drawn a blank. Leon Levitt was with Dusty through training until Leon got retained as a flight instructor. They met up again at the 370th FS so Leon reckons that this photo was taken at Replacement Training Unit (RTU). Rene Burtner says that as the men are wearing summer uniform, the shot must have been taken in the US as they were not allowed their summer uniforms in the UK. This ties in with the fact that the P-51 is almost certainly not in a front-line unit – note that it is a B or C model and has identity numbers under the wings which, if they are the same on port and starboard, indicates that they read 312298.

Update 1 – Martin Kyburznotes that the numbers under the wings are in fact the serial number and that this is therefor P-51B 43-12298 which served with the 506th FTG at Lakeland AFB, Florida.

Update 2 – Donovan P Martin has identified his grandfather Lt. Edward Blaine Martin as the pilot in the centre of the front row. Lt Martin was posted to the 355th FG at Steeple Morden and was the pilot of “Our Blue Heaven” previously on this page but now in the 355th Gallery. Sorry Donovan but later information says that this is not Lt. Martin. See below.

Update 3 – All individuals now identified thanks to Martin Kyburz. Next to Lt. Madison H. “Dusty” Newton is Lt. Gerald J. Kaplanek who went on to serve with the 23rd FG 118th TRS in China, flying P-51’s and F-6 Tac Recon ships. At the rear right is Lt. Joseph P. Scully (no further information). Front row is (L-R) Lt. Robert B. Melgard who served with the 14th AAF in India flying P-40’s; centre is Lt. Arthur P. Sheehan (no known WW2 assignment), but he served with the 121st FS OH ANG postwar);and on the right is Lt. Louis G. Payor who became flight instructor at Dale Mabry Field, FL, flying mainly P-40’s. The photograph was taken at the 340th AAFBU Bartow AAF, FL, in the June-July 1944 time-frame.

Image number 2

Now here’s an interesting one! Sent in by his nephew Bill Kamego, the pilot seen here is Lt. William J Leonard of the 338th FS, 55th FG. Lt. Leonard served with the 55th between May and December 1944 and is another one of those many individuals of whom little is known of their service history. The name of the a/c is obvious and it would of course have worn the squadron code of “CL” but the burning question is – does the “G” signify not only the garment that the young lady is holding but also the individual code letter of the a/c? It is my belief that it does because of the style of presentation of the letter “G” but conjecture is not good enough for historical accuracy. Any additional information would be very welcome as the young lady depicted deserves to find a home in the 55th gallery!

Image numbers 3 & 4

Thanks to Bill Marshall, “Lady Elionne III” has now been identified as the assigned a/c of Lt. Halbert G Marsh and the illustrations have therefore been moved to the 355th FG gallery.

Image number 5

Last one for the time being. Sorry about the very poor quality. Unfortunately I can only do very little to improve an image that is bad to start with. This one though is important because it shows another 358th FS P-51D that is previously unknown. The wording above the exhaust reads “Hot Daddy” with “Baldy” below. It could of course be the assigned a/c of one of the four named in the photo but “Baldy” was often the nickname for someone named Baldwin. There was however nobody named Baldwin in the 358th or HQ of the 355th FG and to save you looking them up, the four pilots’ details are Roberts – YF-J “Look”; Masters – YF-U (name not known); Kouche – YF-H “Susan B II” & “III”; Woodson – YF-C “The Buckeye Flash”.

Image number 6

First of a group of photos sent in by Alan Griffiths. These are all purported to be early 4th Fighter Group P-47Cs. First up is this interesting piece of nose art. Can anyone give the meaning at all or identify either of the crewmen. Even identifying the squadron might be a good start.

Image number 7

Thanks to Bruce Zigler and the 4th FG veterans, “Earthquake McGoon” can now be attributed to Don Allen and it adorned the cowling of Maj. Winslow “Mike” Sobanski’s P-47D 42-75120 QP-F “Mike IV”. Image now transferred to the 4th FG gallery.

Image number 8

Hi! R.P.M. has now been identified as the assigned a/c of Capt. Ervin L “Dusty” Miller by his son Paul E Miller. The photo has now been transferred to the 4th gallery.

Image number 9

Last one from Alan I’m sorry to say. This one has a distinctly familiar look to it, even with the poor quality shot making the pilot difficult to identify. I have a feeling that I’ve seen this one before, but just can’t place it. Perhaps it is just the portrayal of the “Brooklyn Cheer” or “Raspberry” as we call it in the UK that is familiar to me? Can anyone shed any light on the cartoon character?

UPDATE – I knew that this one rang a bell with me and this is the reason why. The photo above appears in “American Eagles” number 3 on the P-47 by Roger Freeman. This series contains some particularly well chosen illustrations and “Mark II” is just one example. Roger’s caption associates this a/c with Capt. Kenneth G Smith of the 4th Fighter Group’s 335th Fighter Squadron who would therefor most likely be the officer depicted in the first shot. Capt. Smith was an original Eagle Squadron pilot from 121 Squadron RAF and he became a POW on 21 March 1944 in P-51B 43-6803 WD-K. The only discrepancy is that “Mark II” is listed as being a P-47C 41-6207 WD-X whereas Roger’s photo clearly shows it to be a P-47D. 41-6207 was lost over Belgium on 7 September 1943 when fellow 121 Squadron Eagle Lt. Aubrey C Stanhope became a POW. It would appear therefore that “Mark II” must have been the replacement for the original C model shown above. As Capt. Smith’s P-51B was also coded WD-X it is almost certain that “Mark II” carried this code as well. All that is needed is the D’s serial number so that we can complete Capt. Smith’s a/c inventory.

Image number 10

Number twelve is the first of two P-38Js kindly sent in by Russell Abbey and both said to be of the 20th Fighter Group’s 55th Fighter Squadron. Liberty Belle includes a nice portrayal of a “Varga” girl to go along with the name. Anyone recognise the crewman?

Image number 11

Nice shot of P-38J “Fatty” Patty Ann, bombed up and ready to go. Once again, any information will be very welcome. Now said to be from 479th FG not 20th.

Definitive answer now received thanks to John Bonner who once worked for the pilot Brigadier General Robert F. McDermott, then Capt. McDermott of the 474th FG, a 9th Air Force unit. Crew Chief in picture is S/Sgt. John Perkins and the P-38 is named after Capt. McDermott’s baby daughter. Looking for a new home for this one if there is a decent 474 FG site out there!

Image number 12

I found this interesting shot on Dick Atkins’ computer a couple of years back. Dick is the driving force behind the Scouting Force Association, so it’s very likely that this came from one of the 3rd SF guys. This P-51K seems at first glance to be a 78th FG machine but a second look shows that the spinner is not “halved” like the 78th and the codes can only be the CG of the 38th Fighter Squadron, 55th Fighter Group. I think that it is a very late or immediate post war shot of a P-51 that had been transferred from the 78th to the 55th. The nose checks seem to be 78th but do not appear to be black and white so they were most likely changed to green/yellow but the 78th “full nose” design retained. The cheat line could be either the 78th’s red embellishment retained or a 38th FS embellishment added. Bottom line though is that I really don’t know, and would certainly welcome any information at all.

UPDATE – Russell Abbey of the 55th FG web site has identified the crewman on the right as Hank Misura who served with the 343rd FS. Looking good for a 55th FG or 3SF machine!

Image number 13

Ross Whitaker who sent in those wonderful colour shots at the end of the 356th FG gallery has now sent in some interesting b&w shots. This is one of them and a close look at the data block on the original shows this P-51D-20-NA to be 44-72288 which was OC-V “Marge” of Capt. Alfred R Hale. This photo clearly shows that there is no name on the cowling when it was taken and one can only wonder why the cartoon rabbit is portrayed. A possible earlier or later reassignment?

Image number 14

Although deprived of its armament, this P-47 would certainly have served with one of the 8th fighter units. This photo is from the Nuthampstead Airfield Research Society via Russell Abbey and is almost certainly serving with the 398th Bomb Group based at Nuthampstead. It is known that the 398th had at least one P-47 and this was serial # 42-22541 an ex 56th FG machine, but it is not known if it became Arlene “2” as seen above.

Image number 15

Sgt. John R Zachary was an assistant crew chief in the 78th FG’s 82nd FS and normally worked on Lt.Col Conner’s a/c. In this photo sent in by his daughter Elaine McElyea, he is seen on the right with S/Sgt. Roman P Sudut to the left. “My Little Angel” was previously the assigned a/c of Capt. Anthony Klasinsky of 3rd Scouting Force where it was coded CL-J/. Looks like it made the transition to 78th FG in company with “Mutt” seen in the next photo.

Image number 16

Again from Elaine McElyea, Sgt. John R Zachary is seen here with P-51D “Mutt”. This is a rather interesting shot as although I do not know the serial # of this a/c, I do know that it was named by Lt. Richard Jacobson of 3rd Scouting Force (see the SF pages) based at Wormingford with the 55th FG. I can only assume that this a/c was transferred to the 78th at some stage of it’s career but when and what identity it took on remains unknown.

Image number 17

Elaine McElyea also sent in this somewhat out of focus photo of a 78th FG P-47D intriguingly named “Didlinduck”. Any information at all on this one would be very welcome.