Monday, 6 October 2014

USAAF 8th & 9th Air Forces - the Roger Freeman collection, Elwyn Guido "Eager El" RIGHETTI, 55th Fighter Group



.. a few highlights from the Roger Freeman Collection of photographs. The Imperial War Museum acquired the collection in 2012 and began to make it available online in earlier this year with the release of 5,000 images. The remainder of the images will be released in batches as the cataloging is completed. The Roger Freeman Collection consists of approximately 15,000 prints and slides assembled by Roger Freeman (1928–2005), aviation historian and East Anglian native. These images can be used by enthusiasts in a "non-commercial educational context" ...

  http://www.americanairmuseum.com/

".. Freeman was a farmer’s son who lived close to Boxted airfield in Essex, used by the United States Eighth Air Force during the Second World War. His teenage enthusiasm for the airfield developed into a life-long interest, and he published many highly respected books on the US Air Forces in Britain, whilst making his living as a farmer. He collected images from veterans and official sources, identified and sorted them. The majority of these images are black and white but a significant proportion of them are in colour. The colour photographs in particular offer a fresh view of Second World War military life..."




P-51D-10-NA (serial number 44-14783) of Andrew W. "Andy" FULLER (ex-486th BG) of the 3rd Scouting Force. The green and yellow chequered pattern on the nose, denotes that the 3rd Scouting Force was attached to the 55th Fighter Group. This aircraft was badly damaged in a midair collision with a Flying Fortress on 13 April 1945 Photo : Roger Freeman Collection (FRE 5485)

Below; James COPE, Flight Surgeon of the 352nd Fighter Squadron, 353rd Fighter Group, at the crash site of an Airspeed AS.10 Oxford (FRE 349).

  The United States Army Air Force units used 137 different Oxfords on loan from the Royal Air Force. Mostly used as general-purpose communications aircraft in the United Kingdom from June 1942 they were also used for Beam Approach Training.


B-24J-145-CO (serial number 44-40101) named "TUBARAO" of the 855th Bomb Squadron, 491st Bomb Group, used as a flight assembly ship. (FRE 6860)


Another B-24 Assembly ship - - B-24D-1-CO (serial number 41-23667) of the 93rd Bomb Group was used as a flight assembly ship  (FRE 780)



B-26B-55-MA (s/n 42-96165) named "Big Hairy Bird" of the 599th Bomb Squadron, 397th Bomb Group, 9th Air Force, in flight on 1st of December 1944




P-51D-20-NA (serial number 44-72203), nicknamed "Sweet and Lovely", of the 78th Fighter Group, Duxford. The aircraft was piloted by Thomas V. THAIN and was later transfered to the Italian Air Force as MM 4240


A shark mouth Lockheed F-5 named "The Florida Gator" of the 22nd Photographic Squadron, 7th Photographic Reconnaissance Group at Mount Farm Photo : Roger Freeman Collection (FRE 5394)



P-51D-20-NA (serial number 44-63209) of the 84th Fighter Squadron, 78th Fighter Group, nicknamed "Sherman was Right !". The phrase derived from a speech in which General William T. Sherman (commander of a Union Army in the American Civil War) said: "There is many a boy here who looks on war as all glory but, boys, war is all hell." The pilot in front of it is Frank E. OILER (one victory). This aircraft was lost in 1945 with its pilot Louis R. HEREFORD (KIA) Photos : Roger Freeman Collection

A Mosquito P.R.XVI of the 654th Bomb Squadron, 25th Bomb Group flies over the countryside Photo : Roger Freeman Collection (FRE 603)


Jack S. JENKINS, the CO of the 55th Fighter Group, sits in cockpit of his Lightning at Nuthampstead air base in October 1943. Jack Jenkins was credited with the first Lightning victory in the 8th Air Force. He added one more confirmed, one probable and one damaged before he was shot down and taken as POW on 10 April 1944. Roger Freeman Collection (FRE 145)



Above; P-38H-10 (s/n 42-67074)  "Texas Ranger", assigned to the CO of the 55th Fighter Group, Jack S. JENKINS. Jack Jenkins was shot down and taken as POW on 10 April 1944 while flying a P-38J (s/n 42-67825) named "TEXAS RANGER IV". His score consisted of 2 confirmed victories, one probable and one damaged. USAAF photos via www.station131.co.uk/. Sundin artwork : luftwaffeinprofile.se/



Ground crew and a pilot of the 356th Fighter Group admire a Dornier 17 painted below the cockpit of a Thunderbolt, although it is quite unlikely they ever met this type in combat (FRE 465)


Elwyn Guido "Eager El" RIGHETTI, the CO of the 55th Fighter Group,  with his P-51D-20 (s/n 44-72227) named "KATYDID". Elwyn Righetti was the 8th AF's "King of the Strafers" with 27 aircraft destroyed on the ground and 8 more damaged. While strafing Riesa-Canitz airfield (near Dresden) he was downed by flak on 17 April 1945 in this machine. Although he was able to carry out a forced landing, he never came back...






Personnel of the 359th Fighter Group work on the engine of a P-51D-5-NT (s/n 44-11348) named "Oh Nurse!" at East Wretham Photo : T. P. Smith via Char Baldridge; Roger Freeman Collection (FRE 539)

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