Had the pleasure of attending the 355th Fighter Group Association reunion in Philadelphia. The trip was made doubly pleasurable by my taking copies of Ronnie Olsthoorn’s latest rendering “Tiger’s Revenge” for 357th FS pilot Bill “Tiger” Lyons to sign. For the rare opportunity of listening to a description of the event, click on the picture to hear “Tiger” giving Ronnie the background information for his artwork.
I understand that Ronnie will have a couple of the signed (canvas) edition for sale soon so if interested, keep an eye on his web site Skyraider3D.
Also in attendance was “Angets, Bulldogs and Dragons” author Bill Marshall. Bill is seen here showing his photo collection to the assembled veterans. 357th FS pilot Bob Garlich looks on with the memories flooding back.
Sunday 30th July was the dedication day for a new memorial to the 55th Fighter Group at Wormingford. In attendance were author Ken Wells with his wife as well as yours truly, 55th Web Site author Russell Abbey, Nick and Julie King and “Aces and Wingmen” author Danny Morris. Seen in this photo by Julie King are from L-R Russ Abbey, Nick King, yours truly and Danny Morris.
Also taken at the Wormingford ceremony were these two photos by Ken Wells showing the new 55th FG memorial as well as the memorial plaques to the 3rd Scouting Force and to William W Patton.
Received some photos from Ken Wells taken at the 355th FG reunion in Tucson, AZ last October. P-51 Warbird owner Henry Reichert brought along his beautifully restored Mustang “Dakota Kid II/Long Island Kid” with original pilot Nobel Peterson in the back seat. Nobel is seen here with his crew chief Bob Coleman alongside the representation of their a/c.
Taking advantage of a never to be missed backdrop, veterans and guests of the 355th FG Association pose alongside the Mustang with a Thunderbolt II adding to the atmosphere.
9 April 2006 was the 61st anniversary of the final operational mission flown by 55th FG veteran Capt. William B Staggs, pilot of P-51D CG-R “Wild Honey”. Thanks to the kindness and public spirit demonstrated by Tennessee Circuit Judge J Curtis Smith, the occaision was marked by a series of special presentations to Capt. Staggs:
(L) Having presented a letter of appreciation from U. S. representative Lincoln Davis honoring Bill’s service, Curtis Smith now presents Capt. Staggs with a resolution passed by State of Tennesse representative Bill Harmon, also honoring Bill’s service. (R) Mayor George Wagner presents Capt. Staggs with the key to the City of Dunlap, TN.
(L) Judge Smith now presents a framed collage which includes Nick King’s profile of CG-R and original sheet music with the words and score for “Wild Honey”. (R) Final presentation of the day, a “thank you” cake from Curtis Smith enjoyed by Bill Staggs, his fellow veterans, friends and family members who attended his special day.`
The site author and son, Stewart Randall, were honoured to attend the pre-premier showing of “Rendezvous With Freedom” at the Royal Army and Military Museum, Brussels in the presence of His Royal Highness Prince Philippe of Belgium. The film recounts the story of Lt. William D Grosvenor of the 56th Fighter Group who bailed out near Mariakerke, Belgium and was hidden by the Belgian Resistance for some seven months before being betrayed to the Gestapo. The film not only tells Bill’s story but is also a fitting tribute the the many brave Belgians who formed the Resistance Movement and who ended up losing some 700 of their number in helping to repatriate a similar number of allied aircrew. American site visitors will be pleased to know that the film is due to be screened by PSB at some time in the not too distant future. Apparently the film is to be called “The Last Best Hope” in the US and those interested are advised to register with the associated web site so as to be kept up-to-date with developments. URL is: http://www.alpheusmedia.com/lastbesthope/index.html Visitors to that excellent site can also see excerpts from the film as well as a good photo gallery.
Bill Grosvenor’s son and “Rendezvous With Freedom” Film Producer David Grosvenor gives his opening address to the invited audience at the pre-premiere in Brussels. (Photo: Stewart Randall – Randall Photography)
HRH Prince Philippe chats to some of the people involved in the film. (Photo: Stewart Randall – Randall Photography)
Yours truly (L) meets up again with one of the co-producers and Belgian local historian/author, Walter Verstraeten. (Photo: Stewart Randall – Randall Photography)
Taken by Ren� Burtner at the 359th Fighter Group Association reunion in Chicago, this photo shows researcher Ted Damick with the presentation given to him for his outstanding and devoted work in helping to record the 359th history. The fruits of Ted’s labours will soon be seen when the 359th Fighter Group Official Web Site is launched. I currently have this under construction and its launch will be announced here as well as on the major message boards.
Although I have decided not to advertise artwork on this site, from time to time certain paintings do attract my attention. Wade Myers is certainly one of my favourites and I admit to owning a couple or three of his quality prints. Just to break my rule though, a copy of this print was sent to me by artist Nat Quick and I am particularly impressed with the choice of subject and the setting. If you are also interested in one of these prints, drop Nat an email at email@example.com (address not hyperlinked to save his getting as much spam as I do!)
Received the sad news that double “Ace” and pilot of “Thunderbird”, Ted Elvan Lines Sr., passed away today in his Gilbert AZ home. Extract from his Obituary follows:
“A lifelong resident of Arizona, he was the eldest son of Elvan Stanley Lines and Lula Lorena Rust. He was born in Mesa, Arizona, on May 4, 1921. He attended Gilbert schools until the middle of his sophomore year of high school, when his family moved to Mesa, Arizona. While in high school he joined the Arizona National Guard, and upon his graduation from Mesa Union High School his guard unit was called into federal service. He eventually trained as an Air Force pilot, flying the P-40, P-47 and P-51. He was one of the first American trained pilots to arrive in Debden, England, as a member of the 335th Squadron of the 4th Fighter Group. After his return to the states he married Elaine Openshaw. They raised four children, Ted, Patricia, Thomas and Timothy. He was a dairyman and a livestock inspector. He had many hobbies, which included oil painting and creating turquoise jewelry. Ted served in many callings for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”
This photo showing Ted wearing his wartime A2 that he hand-painted himself has been received from daughter-in-law Marjean Lines via Nick King.
Madingley Memorial Day 2005 saw the 359th FG represented for the second year and hopefully this will now continue as a regular thing. This year the Group was represented by Leon Levitt, ex 368th FS and pilot of CV-G. Leon is seen here with the wreath that he laid on behalf of the 359th FG Association.
Long delay since the last news item but things have been moving! My server has recently been renewed and hopefully, the increase in speed should make download times better. Just trying to find the funds now for a new, faster router as individual visits to this site are currently running at between 300 and 500 per day. Many thanks to all of you for your continued interest The downside at the moment is that increased security on the server and database is giving problems with graphic recognition and some page updates. Please bear with me as the missing photos will appear in their proper place in due time.
During the intervening period I have had the pleasure of attending the 339th and the 359th FG reunions in Washington DC which enabled me to spend some time in the National Archives at College Park. The fruits of this will become apparent soon when, in conjunction with the Association historian and others, we put an official 359th FG Association web site on line.
The AFHRA has recently put out a request via “Moofy” for help and information:
There is an 82 year old gentleman, who lives at Pau in the foothills of the Pyrenees. During WW2, between January 1943 and August 1944, he helped smuggle British and American airmen from France to Spain through the passes of the Pyrenees. This gentleman’s nom de guerre was “Robinot”.
M.Pitoun’s (“Robinot’s” ) son, Jean-Yves Pitoun, is asking if any of the British and American airmen might still remember his father, as his dad would love to make contact with them.
If you or anyone you know came into contact with Robinot, will you please contact “Moofy” (Yvonne Barnett) at: firstname.lastname@example.org
All profiles now converted.
On the anniversary of D-Day, floral tributes were laid at the 352nd Fighter Group memorial at Bodney. Seen her are from L-R Bill Espie and daughter Karen, Brian Cook, and Ann & Derek Webster. Photo by Bill Espie via Sam Sox Jr.
As the current site format no longer requires the use of transparent gifs I have decided to change all of the profiles over to jpg format. This is a quite lengthy task for me so this work will be carried out on an ad hoc basis. Today I have replaced all of those on the 356th FG gallery. I hope that you like the improvement.
For the first time, a wreath was laid at the American Cemetery, Madingley to honour the 359th Fighter Group members. The wreath was appropriately laid by Tim Gagnon of the KY ANG whose unit have inherited the traditions of the 359th FG. Seen below is Tim with his wife Donna at the ceremony.
My apologies to everyone who has been trying to access this site recently. It has been off-line due to problems with the domain registry host server. This has also meant that I have been unable to send and receive emails. If therefore you are waiting for a reply from me, my apologies again as I now have quite a backlog to deal with. I also believe that a fair number of emails sent to me have disappeared into cyberspace so if you are in any doubt, please send me a copy and I will add to the list of pending replies.
Sorry once again everyone but the circumstances were beyond my control.
Have spent the last week ignoring emails and concentrating on getting the Scouting Force pages on to this site properly. All are now in place with the exception of their a/c inventory because I am still trying to figure out a way of displaying it in the same way as the main unit databases. If inspiration fails, it will be added as a separate entity soon.
Another half-dozen photos added to the “Help Needed” page. All budding and experienced researchers please take a look and see if you can help.
Carried out some improvements to the Group Insignia on some of the database pages. The improvements courtesy of Bob Watkins who has graciously provided some of the logos that will appear in his follow up to “Battle Colors (Vol1)”; reviewed on the Recommended Publications page. With this quality of artwork, I will be at the front of the queue to obtain a copy when it is published
Added a very important photo to the 361st FG gallery – Col. Landers’ “B.B.Doll” in 375th FS markings. Thanks go to Jack Johnson and Craig Quattlebaum. I don’t normally put photos of models on this site but there are exceptions to every rule and here are a couple of shots of Craig’s recently finished 1/24th version.
Added a “Help Needed” page please take a look and see if you can help out with identifications.
Poor quality photo due to the lighting in the Air Force Museum at Dayton but here is yours truly doing my bit to give moral support to the England Rugby Team whilst meeting up with Rene Burter of 359th (centre) and number one mustang researcher Ted Damick. All in all, a great trip to the US.
Tom Patten, owner of P-51D survivor “Sweetie Face” very kindly opened his hangar and memorabilia collection for the 339th to view and admire whilst also being treated to an excellent barbecue! Seen standing on the left in this view is ex pilot of P-51B 42-106933 5Q-G “Bonny Bea” Capt. Lee D “Dutch” Eisenhart.
On behalf of the 339th Fighter Group Association, many thanks Tom for your great generosity.
18 October 2003
Unit dinners at the 339th reunion and joined in with the 505th Fighter Squadron. Pictured here are (from L – R) original C.O. of the 339th General John B Henry and wife Maxine; Fowlmere Airfield landowner and Guest of Honour, Martin Sheldrick and his daughter Georgina and last but by no means least, 339th Secretary, Newsletter producer and tireless workhorse of the Association, Steve Ananian with equally tireless wife Isabel.
Great day visiting Barksdale AFB with the veterans of the 361st FG. Took the opportunity of snapping fellow enthusiast Craig Quattlebaum and fellow web site host Joe Ormond posing with a 47th TFS A-10 Warthog. Craig is seen on the left and Joe on the right.
Finally have the administration pages online and added 31 new illustrations to the 359th gallery with a couple on the 353rd. Lots more to add but will have to hang fire for a couple of weeks as I’m off to visit the 361st and 339th at their reunions. More news when I return.
Recently in are these two photos:
Firstly Rene Burtner of 359th FG 369th FS (L) meeting up with his old wartime sparing partner Paul E Olsen of 368th FS.
Secondly, a nice shot of 355th FG 358th FS veteran Noble Peterson. Noble, still resident in South Dakota, is seen here with his good lady and the other love of his life – “Dakota Kid” – the warbird representing his wartime P-51 out of Steeple Morden.
Duxford Flying Legends 2003
Here’s Martin Kyburz of Swiss Mustangs taking in some of that very rare British sunshine. This photo taken shortly before the tragic loss of the Fairy Firefly and crew.
Also on the day’s agenda was getting a decent look at the latest addition to the UK flying scene “Twilight Tear” – at present in spurious markings until the paint shop is presented with a photograph of the original.
The ultimate Mustang?
Some folks just can’t get enough of the Mustang! This one will take some beating. John Schlossberg, call sign “Dollar 36” at one time flew P-51 G4-X with the 357th FG out of Leiston. Here he is in a different sort of Mustang now out of the Florida Freeways but it seems that he just can’t get the earlier one out of his mind. Get a load of the license plate and group markings.
Met up with the 355th again for Memorial Day at Madingley. Tiger and Mrs Lyons seen here with the 355th FG Association’s floral tribute. Also in attendance were Nick and Julie King.
Was guest of Bill “Tiger” Lyons at the Memorial Service and Unveiling Ceremony at the 355th FG Memorial at Steeple Morden. Honours were carried out by HRH The Duke of Gloucester. Seen here with their respective ladies are the attending veterans of the 355th. From L-R Don Gailer, Bob Coleman, Russ McNeff, Ward Douglass, Bob Kuhnert, Bill “Tiger” Lyons, Bill Cullerton, Julius Moseley, Les Minchew and Bill “Buzz Boy” Burlinghame.
Photo via Ken Wells
Just returned from representing the Scouting Force at the commemoration ceremony for Lt. William W Patton at La Longueville and Feignies in France. Event took place on Wednesday 15th and report will follow soon on the Scouting Force pages.
Connie Patton is presented with the flag covering her uncle’s memorial by M. Michel Pr�vot, Mayor of La Longueville.
Dorothy and Dick Stearns (353rd FG) call in to see profile artist Nick King during his visit to the 339th and 355th FG reunions in Charleston SC. Nick’s fine renditions are drawn only after consultation with the pilot concerned to ensure accuracy and can be found throughout the gallery and Scouting Force pages.
Also calling in to see Nick were Helen and Rene Burtner (359th FG)