The Jeffrey L. Ethell Collection
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#00026 Though it was unusual for Spitfire pilots to see a heavy bomber up close, B-24D "Bathtub Bessie" made an unscheduled landing at the 308th Fighter Squadron's base in North Africa while trying to get back to base. Ser# 41-23712. 'Bathtub Bessie' was involved in the famous Ploesti Raid by the group in August '43. See nose art at picture #00167.**
#00027 American Spitfire pilots with the 31st Fighter Group get a look at their first replacement P-51B at Castel Volturno, Italy, March 1944. The Mustang opened up the long range escort mission for the unit's pilots but they were not enthusiastic in the least about losing their maneuverable Spits. It would take some time and an increasing opportunity to shoot down enemy aircraft to make them forget the elegant British fighter.** See note below.
#00028 Bill Skinner's crew chief, Donald Firoved, and armorer, Ralph Francis, stand by their faithful Lonesome Polecat without much concern for the P-51 B running up in the background. It was hard on all 31st Fighter Group personnel to let go of their proven Spitfires.**
#00029 Donald Firoved and Ralph Francis use their Spitfire for some relaxation while waiting for an engine start time before a mission.**
#00030 When the 308th Fighter Squadron's ground crew managed to get a relatively undamaged Italian training plane airworthy, it became thier own to do with as they wished. Pilots taught a few enlisted men how to fly it, and from then on, it was for enlisted men only---they flew it with great enthusiasm. Officers look on at Pomiglaiano, Italy, as Achtung is run up during a maintenance check. So successful was this effort that the aircraft went from field to field as the group moved, remaining an enlisted hack until it wore out. June-Aug 43. Note squadron insignia on fuselage near front cockpit. Part of national insignia is visible and seems to be from the stated period.**
#00031 Though the Spitfire was smaller than most fighters, ground crews with a will could find a way to get into even the most difficult spaces, as these 308th Fighter Squadron men prove.**
#00032 Work detail digging slit trench, for air raid protection. (Terrain Looks like North Africa)
#00033 This is a photograph of the famous P-51D racer called 'Galloping Ghost'. This plane was one of the very P-51's used in air racing being bought as surplace, from Walnet Ridge, early 1946. Not seeing any combat, she was fresh from the plant and ready to, racing as Galloping Ghost No.'77' from 1947 - 49. In 1950 she was sold to the Haiti AF, and then went on to the serve with Israeli AF, before being returned home to race again as highly modfied version of her former self, from 1963 -79 flying as 'Miss Candice'. In 1976 she actually won the the National Air Races with a speed of 422mph average. Ske also won Reno twice. These kind of events can, however, be a highly risky affair. In 1970 she crash on take off at Reno, and was rebuilt. The same happened to her ten years later at Van Nuys in 1980, and again she was rebuilt. Flying between 1981 - 2001 she had was renamed 'Spectre', 'No.9', & 'Leward Ranch Special No.44' at various times, and was stored from then on. Probably the longest and most varied racing history of any mustang and one of the most modified. Amazingly, she was pulled out, reworked, and was back racing again in June 2006!! She may not have been in the war, but has certainly had her own share of battles!!! **
#00034 Captured by US forces. Probably taken in North Africa in early 43. Note overall yellow finish and pre-june 43 nationnal insignia.
#00035 Bill Skinner looking out of plane
#00036 Heavily laden P38Hs of the 38FS taxiing and taking off for long range bomber escort in November 1943. Other P38s can be seen circling above as the formation assembles. **
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#00038 P-51Ds from 385thFS, based at Honington, taxiing to take off on a mission in the late summer of 1944.
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#00041 Maj. Claiborne H. Kinnard, Jr.'s first Man O' War just after the 354th Fighter Squadron commander got his first kill on 29 March 1944. The standard ETO white nose and bands on wing and tail have been applied, as well as the Malcolm Hood over the cockpit in place of the factory-installed "chicken coop" panels. The white paint was supposed to help identify American fighters from their German counterparts, but aircraft continued to be lost to friendly fire. The Spitfire-style bubble canopy was a major improvement that pilots found outstanding in all respects, allowing them to actually lean out over the canopy rail and look behind. Serial 43-6431, desig'n 'WD-A' pictured here after first his kill, Mar 29th 1944.
#00042 This wonderful color shot is of Lt. Cameron M 'Cam' Hart's P47D - Designation 'UN-B' - serial 42-26299, 56th FG - 63FS taxiing out at Boxted. England. The aircraft was a 'hand me down' from a Lt. Becker who transferred. It was not unusual for variations of the squadron insignia to be used for nose art, as can be seen on Hart's Thunderbolt. Though the plane was not specifically named, it had a great piece of noseart with a Panthers head with Nazi fighters in its jaws! This colorful Thunderbolt was lost Nov 1944. ** Cameron Hart's 63rd Fighter Squadron P-47D warms up in the foreground as the 56th Fighter Group lines up for takeoff from Boxted, England, in late 1944. It was not unusual for variations of the squadron insignia to be used for nose art, as can be seen on Hart's Thunderbolt. (JE)
#00043 P-47D 42-8586, '5F-S'. Seen in the left background is 42-8646 '5F-Y' - "Primrose Peggy". The unit was responsible for saving many many lives! Under each wing they would carry a dingy pack that would inflate immediately on contact with the water. **
#00044 Col. Francis "Gabby" Gabreski, 28, aerial victory ace. See 05968 for similar photo with him wearing oxygen mask.
#00045 Lt. Marvin W. Arthur with his Blondie at Debden, England, home of the 4th Fighter Group. As crew chief Don Allen remembered, "We were supposed to use kerosene to wash oil and soot off the planes, but it usually wasn't on site...thus we took a bucket of 140 octane gos and washed the junk off. it's a wonder we weren't all blown sky high. Youth...things it's invulnerable!" Feb 1945. Serial 44-73304, desig'n 'QP-U', like many aircraft this was named after the pilots wife. **
#00046 Though similar in appearance to his earlier Mustangs, Pierce McKennon's Ridge Runner III had a slightly different razorback hog, more victory markings and the two parachutes added for his successful escapes after going down in enemy territory. Here Mac poses with his colorful mount just after it replaced the one he left in Germany. This aircraft was eventually crash-landed in France on 17 April 1945 by another pilot. This was his 3rd 'Ridger Runner' P51D serial 44-72308, desig'n 'WD-A'. Like a lot of pilots, he would go on to complete over 200 combat missions, only to lose his life in a peacetime flying accident!
#00047 Capt. George D. Green with his P-51D, mid 1944. Aircraft serial 44-14137 - P-51D - 335FS, 4th FG - designation was strangely 'WD-KK'. Capt. George D Green's plane, called 'Suzanne' and had a RARE extra 'K' designation. Due to allocation error.
#00048 Front-office---the wartime cockpit of a P-38J Lightning. On the left are the red-balled throttles, prop pitch controls and mixture levers. Behind the control yoke in the center is the main switch box and armament selectors with the magneto switches on the upper left. The machine gun and cannon triggers are on the wheel grips, while the red dive flap switch is on the left brace and the white microphone button is on the right brace. The printed placards on the yoke are dive limiting speeds (left) and power and flap settings (right). The flap handle is just to the right of the yoke, mounted on the right side of the cockpit just in front of the radio and electrical controls. Oxygen regular and controls are mounted on the center floor between the rudder pedals.
#00049 Col. Zemkes 'Wolf Pack' Thunderbolts preparing to go out on a hunt! In immediate view is seria -l 42-26466 - P-47D 63rd FS, 4thFG - designation 'UN-B' flown by Capt. Russell B Westfall and called 'Anamosa III'. A brilliant picture of the Col. Zemkes 'Wolf Pack' Thunderbolts preparing to go out on a hunt! In immediate view is seria -l 42-26466 - P-47D 63rd FS, 4thFG - designation 'UN-B' flown by Capt. Russell B Westfall and called 'Anamosa III'. Tucked in behind and to the right is an earlier aircraft, in all metal finish serial 42-26057 - designation 'UN-F'. At this present time this pilot is not known. ** The 56th Fighter Group lines up for takeoff from Boxted. In the foreground Russell Westfall runs up his P-47D. (JE)
#00050 Socked in at Wormingford, 22 December 1944. A misty Wormingford morning greets 38thFS 'P-51D 'Wild Honey' - 'CG-R' serial 44-11370 - Flown by Capt. William B Staggs. Unfortunately, Staggs lost this plane when she was being flown by another pilot - Lt. Robert L Sill (KIA) 20th Feb 1945. The 55th Fighter Group P-51D's crew chief was Roger Fraleigh, assisted by Nick Lippucci. Fraleigh was awarded a medal for his aircraft flying the most missions without mechanical Failure. The Mustang was later lost in action on 20 February 1945.** The P-51 in which Robert Sill got shot down on February 20th, 1944 after he was hit by flak. His friend, also a P-51 pilot watched that and also saw when he was on the chute and later on got killed on ground by germans.
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