Reccomended Publications

Unit History

Out In Front

By Witold “Lanny” Lanowski

Decorated Polish fighter pilot Witold ‘Lanny’ Lanowski tells his remarkable Second World War story beginning with his dramatic escape from Nazi aggression in Poland, fighting with the reformed Polish Air Force in France, and eventually arriving in England to combat the Luftwaffe. On completion of his tour he joins the United States Army Air Forces and the 56th Fighter Group, ‘Zemke’s Wolfpack’, flying the P47 Thunderbolt, the ‘Jug’, escorting the heavy bombers over hostile territory. In addition to flying as wingman to two of the top scoring aces he also commands the Polish Flight, formed of fellow countrymen who utilise their hard won experience to teach new pilots combat skills.

Lanny’s exploits have become legendary, as has his rebellious nature. His memoir, supported by previously unpublished photographs, recounts an extraordinary personal journey within the life or death context of the European air war

Published by Fighting High and on the shelves now! RRP £25.

Unit History

Greeks in Foreigh Cockpits (Vol. 1)  The life and career of Hellenic parentage fighter pilots in service with the USAAF and RAF 1940-1945

By Demetrius Vassilopoulos, Kyriako’s Paloulian and George Chalkiadopoulos

Although the main text of the book is in Greek, English translations are given to all captions; so with some 435 photos, 48 profiles, 15 paintings plus victories tables, language should present little difficulties to English readers. This volume details the military careers of ten Greek parentage pilots who, for the most part, are previously unknown or overlooked by historians. The authors intend to produce further volumes to cover all such pilots.

Published by Eagle Aviation and available shortly via their web site:
Eagle Aviation

Unit History

Our Might Always The 355th Fighter Group in World War II

By James William (Bill) Marshall

Bill’s long out of print “Angels Bulldogs and Dragons” has now been completely revised and updated and this volume (No 1 of 2) covers the 355th FG in WW2. Volume 2 will continue the Group’s history through Korea and Vietnam up to operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The book is in Combat Diary format and narrates the actions of the 355th, including historical notes of interest regarding other US and Luftwaffe Fighter Groups in action with the 355th FG.

The book has 560 pages and includes some 700 photos, 50 colour profiles and multiple statistical tables, including 8th FC victory credits and all types of losses by aircraft flown. A statistical summary of US ETO fighter victory credits (8th and 9th AF) by quarter, by type of aircraft from 1942 to VE-Day; day by day victory credits for 355th FG and 2nd Scout Force by pilot, type of LW aircraft and location. There is also a near complete table of all aircraft squadron codes and serial numbers of the 355th FG/Scout Force P-47s and P-51s; a complete pilot roster; list of Aces, (air and ground) plus appendices containing a variety of informational narratives and histories, as well as an introduction into the operations of the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing battling over North Vietnam.”

Currently available on pre-order from Amazon with expected order fulfilment in late May to early June.

Unit History

Nose Art and Pin Ups

Produced by Gail Downey.

A subject very dear to the heart and ethos of this web site is covered in a new DVD by Gail Downey. Nose Art and Pin Ups have a central role to play in the study of the Army Air Forces of WW2 and the 8th AF in particular. Previously screened by the BBC in August 2012, this DVD runs for 95 minutes and has three additional extra feature “shorts” totaling 25 minutes. Of particular interest to visitors to this site is the interview with Don Allen, a Crew Chief of the 4th FG and the artist responsible for some of the finest artwork to grace the P-47s and P-51s of the Mighty Eighth. At long last, the contribution made to boosting the morale of the aircrews by the multitude of talented artists is now recognised in a documentary film.

Currently available from Amazon USA in NTSC format and priced at $25 or Amazon UK in PAL format at £15.99

Unit History

George Preddy – Top Mustang Ace

By Joe Noah and Samuel L Sox Jr.

This biography of Major George E. Preddy, Jr. who became the leading active ace in the European Theater of Operations during World War II is now available via Amazon in eBook edition, currently priced at $5.12. When he was killed on Christmas Day 1944 by Allied ground fire, he was the top P-51 Mustang ace of all time, with 27 aerial and five ground victories. George’s younger brother, Bill, was killed on April 17, 1945 while strafing an enemy aerodrome near Prague. A chapter is devoted to his short career in which he claimed two aerial victories with the 339th Fighter Group. Written by their cousin Joe Noah, along with 352nd FG photo archivist Sam Sox, this book should be on every 8th Air Force fan’s reading list.

Currently available from Amazon as an eBook Kindle edition.

Unit History

VF-17 “Jolly Rogers” Part 2: Early US Navy Corsair units: VF-17’s Second Tour.

By Adam Jarski and Zbigniew Kolacha.

The second volume of VF-17 and due to be available within the next few weeks. Please check back for further details and scan of the decal sheet included or check the A J web site at: http://aj-press.home.pl/main_euro.htm

Unit History

VF-17 “Jolly Rogers” Part 1: Early US Navy Corsair units: VF-12 and VF-17 First Tour.

By Adam Jarski and Zbigniew Kolacha.

Continuing with the “Fighting Units in Colour” series from A J Publications, number three deals with the early Vought F4U Corsair units and in particular, the first tour of VF-17. This is a two part volume with number four in the series dealing with VF-17’s second tour. Of great interest to modelers and historians alike is the contention that the red surround to the national insignia on these early Corsairs is in fact a myth and puts forward evidence to back up this claim. No doubt much argument will arise concerning this and if for no other reason, possession of these two volumes should be considered essential. Please see the A J web site for additional details: http://aj-press.home.pl/main_euro.htm

Unit History

Polish Mustang Units: Polish Wing HQs and Nos. 303, 306, 309, 315 and 316 Squadrons in Britain.

By Wojtek Matusiak and Zbigniew Kolacha.

Following on from the first publication in this series, the 506th Fighter Group on Iwo Jima, reviewed below, number two presents a look at the Polish P-51 squadrons within the RAF. Once again the 64 pages are copiously illustrated with excellent photographs which compliment the equally excellent artwork of Zbigniew Kolacha. Again, a decal sheet is included with 1/32, 1/48 and 1/72 scales being representes. An illustartion of the sheet in this volume is shown on the left. As previously, currently available direct from the publisher, or possible at a lesser price where there is a distributor in your home country. For details check the A-J Press web site at: http://aj-press.home.pl/main_euro.htm

Unit History

Profile Hangar No.1

By Thierry Dekker.

The first edition of what promises to be an interesting series of publications. Featuring the outstanding profile artwork of Thierry Dekker, this 64 page book concentrates on two “themes”. Firstly the depiction of the American Indian on various aircraft and of particular interest to 8th AF fans will be “Yakima Chief”, “The Flying Ute”, Chief Wahoo, “Lonesome Polecat” and naturally enough the two versions of Frank Klibbe’s “Little Chief”. The second “theme” is an attempt to depict all the known aircraft in a particular unit and in this instance, the unit chosen is the 19th FS on Saipan, with their P-47s. I particularly like this idea and look forward to seeing it extended to include other units, hopefully within VIII Fighter Command! Further details and purchase information can be found on-line at: http://www.landscape-publications.com/en/

Unit History

The Last Dragon Of Steeple Morden

By John J Kevil Jr.

The Last Dragon of Steeple Morden is the incredible story of 357th FS ace Bill Cullerton and his survival after being shot down, deep behind German lines, in the apocalyptic twilight of the war. Shot with his own sidearm amd left for dead by an SS officer, what happens over the subsequent two weeks tests the young pilot’s resolve to survive and affirms mankind’s propensity for severe brutality as well as its overwhelming capacity for compassion in the face of death. One of the most fantastic aspects of this story is that it is all true.

Currently available from Amazon in hard cover, soft cover and eBook formats.

Unit History

Steeple Morden Signals The Story of the 1066 Signal Company

By Les Radtke Edited by Ken Wells

For some reason, editor Ken Wells has seen fit to give me a credit in the acknowledgements in this book although I cannot think what I have done to deserve it. Having said that though, I am very pleased to be associated with this particular work because it deals with an aspect of service life that we rarely get the chance to appreciate. The published works dealing with the 8th Air Force invariably deal with the air battles and the pilot’s stories. This on the other hand gives a fascinating insight into what life was like for the OR’s. Les Radtke gives a very lucid and interesting account of what it was like to be inducted into the army, go through the selection procedures and so on to training in order to be able to send and receive morse at a minimum of 20 words per minute. He goes on to paint a terrific picture of life at Steeple Morden and the surrounding area and interaction with the locals. The 355th FG of course were one of the units to go on occupation duty in Germany and Les is also able to give an insight into that aspect as well. The book is available from East Anglia Books and well worth the asking price of £6.

Unit History

Bedpan Commando

By June Wandrey

A change from the usual aviation related recommendations on this site, this book tells the day-to-day experiences of a combat nurse. Not a catalogue of injuries and harrowing personal tragedies as you might think, but a revealing description of just what life was like for the unsung but vital medical units which, in June Wandry’s case, followed the front line from North Africa to Sicily, Italy, Southern France and on into Germany; finally ending up nursing the survivors at Dachau. A very enjoyable read and featured on the History Channel series “World War III in HD”. Available directly from June’s daughter Gail at www.bedpancommando.com for $23 plus shipping.

Unit History

Fogg In The Cockpit

By Richard and Janet Fogg

Known by railroad enthusiasts as one of the foremost American Railroad Artists, Howard Fogg created some twelve hundred paintings. He also served his country as a fighter pilot, completing seventy-six missions with the 359th Fighter Group out of East Wretham. Fortunately for us, Howard kept a diary of his time in the service and this book presents that diary in its entirety, plus supplementary material and illustrations gathered by the authors. For an insight into the daily life of a front-line fighter pilot of the 8th this book is highly recommended. The book is featured by the Military Book Club and Little Friends is honoured to have been able to provide the authors with information relating to the missions flown by Capt. Fogg. Now available at Amazon US and Amazon UK

Unit History

Thunderbolts of the U.S. 8th Army Air Force (March 1944 – May 1945)

By Tomasz Szlagor

Following on from number 15 in the Kagero publications’ Air Battles series the latest addition, number 17, completes the story of the P-47 in the ETO by continuing the narrative from March 1944 up to the end of hostilities in Europe. Of necessity, the text has to concentrate on the earlier period of operations as by war’s end, only the 56th FG were still flying P-47s, the 78th having converted to P-51s at the end of December 1944. As has now come to be expected in this series, the content is well researched and the colour artwork outstanding. In this instance it is nice to see that the profile of Russ Kyler’s P-47M Lorene is by far the most accurate representation of this aircraft. As previously, copies can be obtained direct from the publishers at their web site or most specialist book sellers, easily found with a “google” search.

Unit History

506th Fighter Group The History of 506th Fighter Group, Iwo Jima 1945

By Robert J Grant , Zbigniew Kolacha

Getting away from the 8th and 9th Air Forces which tend to dominate this section, the 20th Air Force finally gets an airing in this new book from Polish publishers A-J Press. The 506th Fighter Group is the first in a series entitled “Fighting Units in Colour” and is an absolute must for all P-51 fans. Author Robert Grant covers the very long range missions flown by this outfit out of Iwo Jima, escorting the B-29s over Japan. The text plus the accompanying illustrations and captions give excellent coverage with information for both historians and modelers alike. Artwork by Zbigniew Kolacha is outstanding, and examples by this artist can be found amongst the galleries of this site. The sixty page format of this series packs in information and illustrations in a most impressive manner and is well worth its asking price, particularly as it includes a free decal sheet for five of the featured Mustangs, in 1/72nd, 1/48th and 1/32nd scales. Currently available at Euros 20.70 direct from the publisher, or possible at a lesser price where there is a distributor in your home country. For details check the A-J Press web site at:
http://aj-press.home.pl/main_euro.htm

Unit History

Thunderbolts of the U.S. 8th Army Air Force (March 1943 – February 1944)

By Tomasz Szlagor

Number 15 in the Kagero publications “Air Battles” series and a welcome return to an 8th Air Force subject. This volume follows the now familiar format of well researched text accompanied by carefully chosen illustrations, plus of course the excellent artwork of the colour profiles. This volume recounts the introduction of the P-47 into the ETO and the initial problems encountered in combating the more agile fighters of the Luftwaffe, until tactics were developed to take advantage of the Thunderbolt’s plus points along with improvements such as water injection and the “paddle-blade propeller As previously, copies can be obtained direct from the publishers at their web site or most specialist book sellers, easily found with a “google” search.

Unit History

Courtesies of the Heart

By Kenneth Breaux

This heart-warming narrative by Ken Breaux recounts the search, discovery, recovery and return home of Lt. William M Lewis Jr of the 55th FG. Listed as MIA on 11 September 1944 Lt. Lewis was finally laid to rest in his native Tulsa,OK soil after being “missing” for fifty-eight years. This account describes how many unconnected people in different countries each had a part to play in helping return a fallen warrior to his family. Little Friends web site is proud to have been one of the references used by the author at the outset of his investigation. Available from the publishers Trafford Publishing. For more information see: www.trafford.com/4dcgi/view-item?item=4196&68145202-6536aaa

Unit History

Battle Colors (Vol. 2) 8th Fighter Command Markings 1943 – 1945

By Robert Watkins

Following the success of Volume 1 covering the “Big Friends”, Robert Watkins has now continued his series of “Battle Colors” with the second volume which covers the “Little Friends” that this site is dedicated to. With Bob’s outstanding artwork being the mainstay of this series, I look forward to the publication of this volume with great anticipation. Currently at the printers, further details will be posted here when they become available.

Unit History

Spitfires and Yellow Tail Mustangs The 52nd Fighter Group in World War 2

By Tom Ivie and Paul Ludwig

I have always felt guilty about not including the early 8th units on site, but decided against due to the scant information available. The 52nd Fighter Group was one of these units, assigned to the 8th in June 1942 but rapidly moved to North Africa to become part of the 12th and then moving up through Italy as part of the 15th Air Force. The 8th heritage being that they carried the same code letters that were subsequently re-issued to the 4th FG. The well written narrative aside, this book is a complete joy to the eyes as it’s 176 pages are well filled with an excellent choice of photos of reverse lend-lease Spitfires and then Mustangs in the later chapters. The two most aesthetically pleasing fighters of the war in one volume. Also included are 25 plus colour profiles of the unit’s a/c.

Is there no criticism of this publication? Well yes – my usual gripe that this profile artist continues the error of most others by persisting in drawing in the nonexistent aerial wires on the P-51s even when the matching photos alongside clearly show their absence! A minor point and only picked up on by “anoraks” like me. Don’t even think about letting this put you off though, as this is a “must have” for the collection of anyone interested in unit histories. Published price is £29.95 but currently available at the bargain price of £20.96 from Amazon.

Unit History

Angels Bulldogs & Dragons The 355th Fighter Group in World War II

By Bill Marshall

I had thought that as this excellent book on the 355th Fighter Group was long out of print, the only way of obtaining a copy was via the second-hand market. I was pleasantly surprised to hear therefore that author Bill Marshall still has some copies in his possession for retail sale. This is the only book available on the 355th that gives full mission details as well as claim and loss listings. If you do not have one of these, I recommend that you snap one up whilst Bill still has some available, as it is very unlikely that there will ever be a reprint. Bill can be contacted at marshall_william@hotmail.com to talk about price and shipping costs.

Unit History

The 479th Fighter Group In World War II In Action over Europe with the P-38 and P-51

By Terry A Fairfield

For those of us not fortunate enough to own a copy of the original unit history published at the end of the war, this book by Terry Fairfield fills a huge void in 8th Fighter Command unit histories and is something that I have been looking forward to for quite some time. I am pleased to announce that the 6 year wait for its publication has been worthwhile and at last the 479th has a published history that adequately reflects that unit’s efforts. In the usual Schiffer format, with over 600 B&W photos crammed into its 368 pages, plus colour profiles, this particular book will keep me busy for months ahead. Priced at $69.95 direct from the publisher or normal Schiffer stockists.

Unit History

To War With The Yoxford Boys The Complete Story of the 357th Fighter Group

By Merle C Olmsted

After what could be considered as several false starts, the 357th Fighter Group have at last been commemorated with a unit history befiting their status as one of 8th Fighter Command’s premier units. Association historian Merle Olmstead has gathered together within its 375 pages, over 500 b&w photos plus colour profiles and photos of both WW2 vintage, as well as current “war-birds” in 357th markings. This book is obtainable direct from the publisher, Eagle Editions, in both the standard volume as illustrated at $64.95 as well as a leather-bound edition, limited to 357 copies and signed by the 13 aces still living at the time of publication. The limited edition goes for $245 per copy. Orders can be made on-line at:http://www.eagle-editions.com/357.htm

Unit History

Little Friends The 361st Fighter Group in WW2

By Steve Gotts

This pictorial history of the 361st FG has been out of print for quite some time, which is unfortunate because it contains an excellent collection of 361st FG photographs with very informative captions. Joe Ormond has had this book reprinted due to demand from collectors and informs me that there are still a few copies available. You would be well advised to obtain a copy of this profusely illustrated book whilst the opportunity still exists as it is highly unlikely that any future reprints will ever be made. For details on price and postage costs, contact Joe at: SonofP51@suddenlink.net Hyperlink removed from this email address due to spam problems.

Unit History

Battle Colors (Vol. 1) 8th Bomber Command Markings 1943 – 1945

By Robert Watkins

Just for a change, a look at the “Big Friends” which tend to get overlooked on a site dedicated to the “Little Friends”. Due in March 2004 from Schiffer publications is this new title covering the unit markings, including logos, of all 48 of the Mighty 8th’s Bomb Groups. For the first time, all information concerning this intriguing and fascinating aspect of wartime heraldry and markings is contained in a single reference volume. Also included are organisational flow charts that show the actual battle order. Over 500 high quality colour illustrations by the author help make this an indispensable addition to any 8th Air Force fan’s bookshelf. Volume 2 covering the Fighter Units is eagerly awaited. For an example of the artwork quality, check out the 21st Pursuit Squadron insignia on the 352nd FG gallery.

Unit History

An Ace of the Eighth An American Fighter Pilot’s Air war In Europe

By Norman J “Bud” Fortier

Bud Fortier arrived at Steeple Morden with the original cadre of the 355th FG’s 354th FS and ended up leading their last operational sortie of the war. This is just about the best “pilot-biography” that I have read. It is thoroughly readable and highly enjoyable, giving not only a vivid description of the missions but also an insight on what life was like on a typical air base. For some strange reason, Amazon appear to be almost giving this title away at the moment at a very reasonable price – take advantage of it and get yourself a copy of a really good book. The only adverse comment I have to make is that the publisher, for reasons best known to himself, has chosen a painting of 9th Air Force P-47s to grace the cover rather than some from the 354th FS but I guess that we can’t have everything!

Unit History

Steeple Morden Strafers 355th Fighter Group 1943 – 1945

By Ken Wells

Not a day-to-day account of the 355th missions out of Steeple Morden as this aspect was covered in Bill Marshall’s “Angels, Bulldogs and Dragons” but more of a decent reading book as it includes narratives of the missions, the men of the 355th Fighter Group and life in and around Steeple Morden during the most exciting time of their lives.  See next entry for availability

Unit History

Wimpys to Mustangs A Pictorial History of Steeple morden Airfield 1940-45

By Ken Wells

Ken’s follow-up to Steeple Morden Strafers but this time dealing with the airfield itself. This volume deals with the first RAF arrivals in 1940 with the Wellingtons of 11 OTU but rapidly moves on to USAAF occupation as Station F-122. Well illustrated with many photos taken during the 355th tenure. Currently available from East Anglia Books. View the US Unit History section of the on-line catalogue at: http://www.eastangliabooks.com/

Unit History

Patton’s Eyes in the Sky USAAF Combat Reconnaissance Missions North-West Europe 1944-45

By Tom Ivie

This is an account of operations carried out by the 10th Photo Reconnaissance Group. Although a 9th Air Force outfit, the book is recommended here as no unit history enthusiast should be without it. Extremely well written and illustrated with many photos that are new to me. The only minor criticism I have is that the profiles continue the myth that ETO P-51s still had the aerial wires attached – they didn’t! Profile artist Tom Tullis is not alone by any means in this misconception – see the Osprey series! Other than that slight blemish, the profiles are well chosen and excellently presented. Well done Tom for producing this book which I am sure that the veterans of the 10th PRG are very proud of. A very well invested £27.95 from your usual outlet.

Unit History

P-51 MUSTANG Development of the Long Range Escort Fighter

By Paul A Ludwig

An interesting account of the P-51 development viewed from a somewhat different angle. The author presents a fascinating account of the initial resistance during the early years of the Second World War to the concept of the escort fighter in favour of operations by self-defended heavy bomber. This book presents an investigative analysis into the often troubled design and development history of America’s premier piston-engined fighter aircraft, a machine that would later become famous as the scourge of the Luftwaffe. Well illustrated with many previously unpublished photographs and well presented colour profiles. Well worth the £35 asking price from all usual outlets.

Unit History

The 356th Fighter Group in World War II In action over Europe with the P-47 and P-51

By Kent D Miller

For all of those who missed Kent’s original effort on the 356th ‘Escort’ worry no longer. Now revised and greatly extended and produced to the normal high standard expected of Schiffer, this new history on the 356th has nearly 200 pages of narrative and data plus a separate section containing over 450 black & white photos plus 12 colour profiles. Available direct from Schiffer or via all normal outlets.

Unit History

Runways To Victory Belgian Airfields & Allied Tactical Fighter Operations, 1944-45

By Peter Celis

“This 370-page hard-cover book has 400 unique photographs, and explains the development of tactical air power and how 35-plus airfields in Belgium were used during the tactical fighter war of late 1944 and early 1945. Operations at seven of these airfields are described in great detail: A-78 Florennes, A-84 Chièvres, A-92 St. Trond, Y-10 Le Culot, Y-29 Asch, B-67 Ursel and B-90 Petit Brogel. These based P-38s, P-47s, P-61s, P-51s, Typhoons and Spitfires.”

The book costs 49.95 EURO. Postage and packing costs depend on the customer’s country.
All enquiries and orders should be sent to: pcelis@worldonline.be

Unit History

“American Eagles”

By Roger Freeman

Following on the heels of the 3 previously published titles in the excellent “American Eagles” series Number 4, covering the use of the P-51 by the 8th Air Force. This book follows the format of its predecessors by giving a complete rundown of the camouflage and unit markings and their development from arrival in the ETO to the end of hostilities.

Numbers 1 – 3 covering the Spitfire, P-38 and P-47 available in all normal outlets.

Unit History

Yellowjackets! – the 361st Fighter Group in WW II

By Paul B Cora.

The narrative of the group to compliment Steve Gotts’ “Little Friends” but still managing to contain over 130 photos in B&W and colour as well as colour profiles in its 152 pages. Obtainable at $39.95 from the normal Schiffer outlets.

Unit History

Target of Opportunity

By Lt.Col. R.A.”Dick” Hewitt.

Experiences of a fighter pilot of the 82nd Fighter Squadron of the 78th Fighter Group during training followed by active service based at Duxford. Privately published by the author and now available from East Anglia Books in the UK or direct from the author.

Price direct is $19.95 plus p&p. Contact Dick for details at:rahew@myvine.com

Unit History

Jonah’s Feet Are Dry

By Graham Cross.

Graham Cross’s long awaited history of the 353rd Fighter Group is now available. At last, this unjustifiably neglected and underrated outfit has it’s story told the way it should be, in a (literally) weighty volume that both they and Graham can be proud of. This is how unit histories should be written!

This is a numbered, limited edition of only 2000 copies. Measuring 305mm x 215mm, the 696 pages include 980 illustrations, operational diary, pilot yearbook and detailed appendices.

Order online at www.353rd.com

Unit History

The Bluenosed Bastards of Bodney

By 352nd Fighter Group Association

Reckoned by many, including yours truly, as the finest unit history ever produced by an 8th Fighter Command unit, “The Bluenosed Bastards of Bodney” has now been updated and reprinted. This is a limited reprint of 1200 due to the funding required to finance the project and copies are going fast! Less than 400 remain.

Copies may be obtained via East Anglia Books or direct from Robert “Punchy” Powell of the 352nd Fighter Group Association.

Unit History

Fighter Units and Pilots of the 8th Air Force – September 1942 – May 1945 Volume 1 Day-to-day Operations & Fighter Group Histories

By Kent D Miller

Two companion volumes will do for Fighter Command what “The Mighty Eighth” did for the 8th Air Force as a whole. Kent is to be congratulated for this Force Majeure..

Unit History

Fighter Units and Pilots of the 8th Air Force – September 1942 – May 1945 Volume 2 Aerial Victories & Ace Data

By Kent D Miller

Two companion volumes will do for Fighter Command what “The Mighty Eighth” did for the 8th Air Force as a whole. Kent is to be congratulated for this Force Majeure.

Unit History

Original USAAF Cine Film

By Ray Hallworth

Original USAAF Cine Film Transferred to Video

Also now available on CD ROM viewable via Windows Media Player or via E-mail as an Internet high band version of the movie to anyone willing to accept a 56 MB file zipped to 28 MB. (Should take about 25-30 minutes to download)

“Ramrod to Emden” contains original footage of 56th Fighter Group escorting a mission to Emden on 2 October 1943 and can be >ordered in most formats, including UK-PAL and US-NTSC

For full details contact Ray Hallworth at raymond.hallworth@mypostoffice.co.uk or visit his web site at www.skennama.info

Unit History

17 January 2003

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)

Unit History

24 May 2003

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

 

Unit History

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.

Unit History

08 July 2003

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.

Unit History

12 & 13 July 2003

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.

Unit History

19 July 2003

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.

Unit History

11 October 2003

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.

Unit History

14 October 2003

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.

Unit History

16 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.

Unit History

18 October 2003

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 History

20 October 2003

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.

 

Unit History

10 January 2004

Added a “Help Needed” page please take a look and see if you can help out with identifications.

Unit History

17 January 2004

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.

Unit History

17 February 2004

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

Unit History

18 February 2004

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.

Unit History

18 March 2004

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.

Unit History

07 April 2004

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.

Unit History

31 May 2004 – Memorial Day

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.

Unit History

01 June 2004

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.

Unit History

06 June 2004

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.

Unit History

12 June 2004

All profiles now converted.

Unit History

25 June 2004

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: moofy@btinternet.com

Unit History

02 November 2004

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.

Unit History

30 May 2005

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.

Unit History

30 May 2005

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.

Unit History

14 June 2005

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.

Unit History

08 July 2005

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 n.quick@comcast.net (address not hyperlinked to save his getting as much spam as I do!)

Unit History

17 September 2005

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.

Unit History

22 October 2005

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)

Unit History

22 April 2006

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.`

Unit History

July 2006

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.

Unit History

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.