Stunning images of US Spitfires donated by the RAFby Richard Bailey 16/09/2017 19:16:00 0 comments 1 Views
By Charlie Bayliss For Mailonline
Published: 16:20 EDT, 16 September 2017 | Updated: 19:16 EDT, 16 September 2017
Amazing pictures from World War II have unveiled the swathes of Spitfires which were gifted to American forces by the RAF.
The stunning images show how the RAF emblem was removed and replaced by America's 'stars and bars' of the USAAF.
The mixture of colour along with black and white images show brave pilots standing by their newly-donated planes, often with a fresh lick of paint on them.
The pictures are in Tony Holmes' new book entitled Star-Spangled Spitfires.
Mr Holmes said: 'The USAAF received Spitfires because it lacked suitable fighters of its own in Britain with which to engage the enemy.
'Also, the first fighter squadrons assigned to the USAAF in Britain were ex-RAF units manned by American volunteers who had signed up to fight the enemy ahead of the US entry into World War II.
'The squadrons were equipped with Spitfires at the time of their transfer to the USAAF's Eighth Air Force in September 1942, and they took their aeroplanes with them.
'The USAAF was grateful to have Spitfires available when it first commenced operations in the UK, as it had no fighters of its own that could match the performance of the German Bf 109G and Fw 190A.'
The new book details the fight operations of US war-heroes and USAAF units were equipped with the famous Supermarine fighter from the summer of 1942.
Mr Holmes said: 'They allowed both veteran and novice pilots alike to get a taste of frontline combat in Europe prior to the arrival of American-built fighters in 1943.
'The American units that flew Spitfires in North Africa and the Mediterranean saw far more action with the British fighter. Indeed, the last ones were not replaced by US Mustangs in this theatre until March 1944.
'The operations of the units in the Mediterranean were highly successful. Indeed, 22 American pilots shot down five or more Axis aircraft to achieve coveted title of ace.
'The photo-reconnaissance Spitfire XIs flown by the USAAF from Britain also performed a valuable, unsung, mission, flying alone and unarmed deep into Germany through to VE-Day.'
First Lieutenant Willian Skinner replaced his war-weary Spitfire VC with this Mk VIII, which he christened Lonesome Polecat with a fresh new paint job
During a press visit in September 1942, the air unit at Goodwood airfield carried out a series of 'stunts' for reporters
New Yorker Richard Hurd was the last pilot to 'make ace' - a term for a person who has shot down several enemy targets
First Lieutenant John Fawcett smiles from the cockpit of his newly painted Spitfire dubbed Lady Ellen III
After service with the RAF's No 133 'Eagle' Sqn, Second Lieutenant 'Dixie' Alexander transferred to the USAAF (left) and after serving with the RAF's No 133 'Eagle' Sqn, Second Lieutenant 'Dixie' Alexander also transferred to the USAAF (right)
Major Harrison Thyng strikes a typical fighter pilot's pose while undertaking his conversion on to the Spitfire in late June 1942 at RAF Atcham, near Shrewsbury
First Lieutenant William Skinner of the 308th FS/31st FG runs his hand over damage inflicted on his Spitfire VC by an 88mm flak shell that detonated near his aircraft during a mission over Italy in October 1943
First Lieutenant Buck Ingram sits in his Spitfire at Kenley, which is discretely marked with the Star of David
Spitfire VC ER256 was the personal aircraft of Lieutenant Colonel Fred Dean, who adopted the RAF practice of carrying his initials on his aircraft rather than squadron codes
This was the fate of a number of Spitfires which had been damaged during battle in World War Two
Colonel Albert Clark became the first USAAF fighter casualty in Europe on 26 July 1942, flying Spitfire VB BL96/VZ-G
First Lieutenant Carroll Pryblo was hit by 'friendly' anti-aircraft fire and forced to crash land Spitfire VC JK707 on one of the invasion beachhead, but managed to survive the crash
Second Lieutenant Don Gentile poses in front of his uniquely marked Spitfire VB BL255 at Debden soon after joining the USAAF in September 1942