The Jeffrey L. Ethell Collection
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  Slide Number Description Image
#00001 50th Fighter Group's Thunderbolts dispersed across the forward operating field near Nancy, France. Note Cletrac.
#00002 Group CO, Col. Edward S. Chickering's airplane being started with the hand crank. July 1943 Airacobra training at Hamilton Field, CA, for 357th Fighter Group before shipping out of England to join the 8th AF in July 1943. Group CO Col. Edward S. Chickering's P-39 is being started by the ground crew the hard way---with the hand crank to get the inertia starter going.
#00003 Who cares if this is a staged AAF public relations shot? No question this Flying Cadet at Luke Field, Arizona, 1941, is happy to climb into the hot rod he could never afford during the depression. Only this one his wings and 600 hp under the hood. Pilot standing on wing with mail bag in his hand. **
#00004 Fighter transition P-39D.Airocobra on the line at Page Field, Ft. Myers, Florida in March 1943
#00005 A very bright Mosquito of the 25thBG (R) - 653rdBS. These aircraft were adopted in late October 1944 for 'Chaff' dispensing. Used to block enemy radar, 'Chaff' was the code-name for metalic foil strips that were released to confuse radar by disrupting the signal. These Mosquitos were used especially for the task of flying ahead of bomber formations to aid their arrival safely over the target. The bright red tail was adopted to avoid some friendly fighter pilots from mis-identifying them as Me410's, that had a very similar shape. (This aircraft should be recorded as Mosquito PRXVI?) [same as #04537] **
#00006 An 82nd Fighter Group Lightning departs from Foggia, Italy, on a bomber escort mission in 1944. The colorful red spinners nose standing out against the morning sunrise.
#00007 L to R: Lt. Billie B. Watson, Maj. Steve Stone and Capt. George Marvin coming out of mission briefing. Heading out from Foggia, Italy, for a mission with the 97th Squadron, 62nd Fighter Group.
#00008 1st Lt Walter Zurney sits in his P-38 after his 50th & last mission. Zurney was one of the rear breed of sergeant pilots later commissioned as flight officers before going off to combat.
#00009 Fred F. Ohr's 2nd Fighter Squadron, 52nd Fighter Group P-51D with his six kills on the side. Originally equipped with reverse lend-lease Spitfires and sent from England to the Mediterranean, the 52nd later converted to Mustangs and became a part of teh long-range escort units covering the Fifteenth Air Force. **
#00010 The 14th Fighter Group's North African base during 1942 were barren stretches of Tunisian desert. Pilots and ground crews lived in tents or holes and food was a major topic of conversation.
#00011 Bill Skinner takes a pensive look at his Spitfire Mk. V after returning to the 31st Fighter Group base at Montecorvino, Italy on 1 October 1943 after covering the landings at Salerno. An 88 mm flack shell went off between him and his wingman, putting a sizable dent in his spit.
#00012 An RAF air-sea rescue Walrus sits ready at Korba, Cape Bon, Tunisia. These lumbering biplanes were a most welcome sight across Europe and the Mediterranean when a downed flier was sitting in a raft or bobbing in his Mae West. tragically, the pilot of this aircraft was killed during the first German air raid on Korba in May 1943, leaving the American 31st Fighter Group without rescue support until another pilot was transferred in.**
#00013 In March 1944 Mt. Vesuvius erupted and covered the surrounding area with lava cinders, destroying the 340th Bomb Group B-25s near Pompeii and generally doing more damage than all the Luftwaffe's air raids. This was the view from Naples harbor.**
#00014 USO show, probably in Italy Note below: My father was in the 308th FS, 31st FG, in North Africa, Gozo Island, Sicily, and Italy. He took a BW snapshot of a USO show (with Bob Hope and Francis Langford) in Aug1943. Although he was waaaay back in the audience, it appears to me to be the same venue; maybe even the same show! Bob Hope published a book during the war entitled "I Never Left Home". This book describes some of his USO tours during the war, including a trip to North Africa and Sicily. This tour was before the invasion of mainland Italy at Salerno.
#00015 Muddy conditions on field showing Dodge command car & jeep at least partially bogged down.
#00016 North African tea vendor. Photo is reversed
#00017 Italian fighter, possibly captured in Sicily. Pilot on wing. Flipped image, 12/6/06
#00018 A red-tailed P-51D of the all-black 301st Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group in November 1944. though segregated from their fellow fighter pilots and often subjected to biased criticism, as 332nd pilot Louis R. Purnell recalled, "When you fly, nothing else matters. I could have been flying for the devil and it wouldn't have mattered." Not one bomber was lost in the time the 332nd provided escort for the Fifteenth Air Force's bomb groups. Red-tail--the Tuskegee airmen. ** See note below.
#00019 A 307th Fighter Squadron, 31st Fighter Group Spitfire Mk. IX sits ready for the day's mission.**
#00020 Group of pilots of [unit]. Probably Naples, Italy winter 43. (Most are waring flight jackets with sq patch, enlarged pic may show 307th FS 31FG) Note below: My father was in the 308th FS, 31st FG, in North Africa, Gozo Island, Sicily, and Italy. He took a BW photo of this same building, labeling it a"Mess Hall". I've inferred from other photos that this picture was taken when he was stationed at Pomigliano AB, just east of Naples in the late fall or early winter of 1943. The patch the pilots are wearing are definitely the "Spitscat" design of the 308th FS, NOT the 307th. See
#00021 Mar 44. Note the biplane in left background. Possibly a captured Italian airplane. See notes below
#00022 A 308th Fighter Squadron Spitfire MK. VB at sunset looking toward Mt. Vesuvius at Pomigliano, Italy. Though the deep chin dust filter under the spinner kept engines healthy, it cut performance significantly.**
#00023 parked in front of house on dirt
#00024 Cape Milazzo, Sicily, September 1943. Bill Skinner dejectedly looks over his first Spitfire Mk. VB, now broken and bent beyond repair. The 308th Fighter Squadron had moved up to this forward area field to cover the invasion of Italy. The dry dust kicked up through the Marston mat pierced steel planking became a nightmare. Taxiing through the choking dust, Bill stopped to clear the area ahead but wingman Ed Fardella behind couldn't see a thing and ran his Spit right up the back of his leader. Unfortunately Ed's fighter was equipped with a metal rather than a wood prop. Instead of breaking apart it proceeded to chop the tail, then dig in just behind the cockpit. Fardella's spinner was almost in Skinner's cockpit when he realized what was happening and cut the engine.**
#00025 The wreck of the 487thBS B-25 with amazed staff of the 31st Fighter Group, moments after the aircraft had crash landed at Pomigliano, Italy. With its left engine completely ripped off by the accident, several of the crew were hurt. Its seems it one thing to escort the bombers, but it was quite another to see one up close, with war damage, land in your back yard!
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