The Jeffrey L. Ethell Collection
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  Slide Number Description Image
#00076 Crew Chief t/Sgt. Roger Fraleigh and Sgt. Bob Sand on the line at Wormingford, home of the 55th Fighter Group. This is a great shot of these unsung heros. Sand on the right, and Fraleigh in the cockpitof a 38th FS P-38 on the line at Wormingford. Sand's collection is one of the finest ever produced. **
#00077 Two red nosed P-47D's sitting loaded ready for another mission for the 61st FS in 1944 at Boxted, England. ** The 56th Fighter Group Thunderbolts on the line at Boxted in late summer, 1944. Drop tanks have been spread around for use at the numerous hardstands and the aircraft are slowly coming back up to operational status for the next mission. (Image needs flipping!)
#00078 Beautiful morning shot taken from inside the maintenance hanger at the base at Nuthampstead. The morning sunlight is just burning off the morning dew at maintenance truck prepares to pull this plane back to hard stand.
#00079 With drop-tank crates spread across the field at Honington, 364th Fighter Group ground crew brings their p-51Ds back to operational status. The enlisted men who kept the Eighth Air Force's fighters airworthy rarely got a full-night's sleep. Up long before the pilots, they would make sure their assigned aircraft were loaded and run-up. After group takeoff they supposedly had time to sleep, but nervous worry about their pilots and aircraft would make them "sweat out" the mission and place the field until the first sight of returning fighters. After the mission the aircraft required extensive attention, often late into the night when the entire cycle started again. Lt. Robert L. Hunt's P51D, designatiom 'N2-T' ser# 44-15559 undergoing routine maintenance in early 1945. **
#00080 Crew Chief S/Sgt Don Allen sits on the wing of Lt. Clarence L. Boretsky's 4th Fighter Group P-51D Meg. Metal drop tanks have been placed on the ground, ready for installation. As Allen recalled, "There were a few sandbag reventments for parking the 'kites' at Debden but most sat out in the open, some on concrete pads, others on the interlocked metal sheeting. Metal drop tanks were usually ready to go, complete with two little glass elbows on each to provide the 'breakaway' when released from the bomb racks." The plane was later given to 2/Lt. Marvin Arthur, who changed the name to 'Davy Lee'. **
#00081 Refuelling and maintenance of Capt. Kenneth F Nicholson's P51D. Serial 44-13916. The low visability insignia are well captured in this shot. Honnington, August 1944.
#00082 The Mary N II gets washed down, scrubbed and scoured by its crew chief at Debden. Whatever it took, the ground crews did, not only to keep the aircraft running, but to keep them looking like polished rice cars. Note the oil trail from the engine breather tube on the side of the cowling. This usually spread back across the fuselage, but the crewman has already cleaned it off to just short of the leading edge, most likely with high-octane fuel. Red tape has been placed over the -50 caliber machine gun muzzles after reloading. Sgt. George Russell adding final touches to Capt. John W. Goodwyns P51C serial 43-6718 - desg'n 'WD-R'. The name 'Mary "A" II' was his wife to be Mary Alice Greene.**
#00083 Ground crew mix with pilots of the 55th Fighter Group after the unit's return from what turned out to be the Eight Air Force's biggest mission of World War II, 24 December 1944. From left to right: M/Sgt. Robert Tudor (line chief), S/Sgt. Nick Lippucci, S/Sgt. Fred Rumley, T/Sgt. Roger Fraleigh (crew chief of CG-R behind), Cpl Herb Heichelbech, Sgt. "Frog" Sheen, Lt. Bob Maloney, Maj. John D. Landers (38th Squadron CO) and S/Sgt. Francis O'Leary. Landers is clearly happy about the 38th scoring four of the Group's fifteen confirmed kills that day. The then Major John Dave Landers is facing glasses and smoke in hand, is talking to his wingman after mission in July 1944. The plane is the first of his aircraft to be name 'Big Beautiful Doll' - Desig 'CG-O'. **
#00084 "Skylark IV" was painted on Maj. Mark W. Shipman's P-38H Lightning by Bob Sand. Yet to be added was one Italian fascist symbol from a kill during Shipman's tour with the 48th Fighter Squadron in North Africa. Standing to the left is armorer Sergeant Westman, with crew chief T/Sgt. "Fox" Nelson, 18 Novenber 1943. Evidently taken on appears to be a blindingly sunny day for all concerned. Taken on a day when the squadron was in the midst of a well earned break in missions, with nothing being flown from the 14th - 20th November '43. **
#00085 Capt. Jerry H. Ayers stands with his crew in front of his P-38H, "Mountain Ayers," one of Bob Sand's favorite creations. "This was a labor of love, partly because I, like everyone else, had great respect and admiration for Capt. Ayers. He was a real, and unassuming, gentleman. He was so appreciative, which was not usually the case with others. These quite crude efforts were done on very cold nights, with runny paints, usually not being completed until four or five a.m., and a full work day before and after at the regular job, and without pay, out of respect for the men who were putting their lives on the line. So, a 'than you' was like a pat on the head to a puppy. It made one glow! The enlisted men were saddened by Capt. Ayers' ear problems, which restricted his flying career. In our estimation he was an extremely talented pilot. The old mountaineer, by the way, outlasted all the other insignias. We figured he had at least 150 missions over enemy territory, some sort of a record." **
#00086 an official AAF photo of a formation of AT-9s over the Gulf of Mexico, more than likely. The closest a/c to the camera, 150, was found and restored at the USAF Museum after two others and myself restored her back in the eighties. She is on display as the only known intact AT-9 left in the world. David Menard
#00087 Charles W. Reed flew Princess Pat with the 63rd Fighter Squadron 56th Fighter Group. In the background another group P-47 still carries the white nose markings which adorned all Eighth AF fighters until various chosen to differentiate groups from each other. This aircraft is pictured not long after being assigned to 2/Lt. Charles W. Reed in August 1943. Serial 42-75185 -desig'n 'UN-X'. **
#00088 Painting Nose Art on Capt. Ted Lines' 1st aircraft a P51B called 'Thunderbird'. Desig'n 'WD-H' early 1944. Serial 43-7172.
#00089 S/Sgt Virgil Mcafee painting the 2nd 'Man O War' P51B serial 43-6431 - desig'n 'WD-A'. As CO. Lt.Col. Claiborne Kinnard had all his planes called the same, and were only looked after by brothers Virgil & Daryl Mcafee.
#00090 The nose art on Lt. Albert P. Knafelz' 62nd Fighter Squadron, 56th Fighter Group flamboyant P-47D was fanciful and poignant at the same time---Staglag Luf III...I Wanted Wings, and button Nose. Desig'n 'LM-A' serial 42-26298. (** JE)
#00092 Capt. Jim Duffy greets the 354th Fighter Squadron mascot bulldog "Yank" shortly after landing at Steeple Morden in his Dragon Wagon. According to Bob Kuhnert, the well-bred English canine, whose sire was owned by Winston Churchill, was bought at a dog show in Duxford by Buck Wrightam, Harold Berg and I. C. Myers. Buck decreed he would be the squadron mascot, suggesting all personnel be called "The Bulldog." Squadron CO Claiborne Kinnard liked the idea, put the existing unit bulldog logo in a circle and placed "The Bulldogs" across the Statue of Liberty in the background, thus creating the definitive 354th Squadron patch issued to the troops. "Bulldogs" was painted above the exhaust stacks on many of the unit's P-51s. After the war Myers brought Yank home in his duffel bag. Yank was sedated before the trip to avoid alerting inspectors. They made it safely to Camp Shanks, then home to Seymour, Missouri. This plane was written off in a landing accident 10th Feb' 45. **
#00093 Col. Dave Schilling, commander of the 56th Fighter Group, taxies out for a mission in his camouflaged P-47D, which bears the "Li'l Abner" comic strip character "Hairless Joe." The 56th had several Thunderbolts adorned with Al Capp's creations, each done in impeccably faithful style to the originals. (JE) PLEASE SEE NOTE BELOW. See, 00093, 00099, 00136, 00355, 00921, 03937, 04373, 04524, 04580, 04581, 04996, 05114.
#00094 Nooky Booky IV was flown by 357th Fighter Group ace leonard K. "Kit" Carson. Unable to get into Leiston due to poor weather, several of the unit's P-51s landed at Wormingford on Christmas Day 1944 after escorting bombers over Germany. Nooky Booky IV was the 4th 'mount' of Major Carson. Serial 44-11622, designation 'G4-C'. Though a wonderful atmospheric photograph of this famous plane, you can see just how far along the fuselage the dirt and soot from the exhaust stacks would reach from pulling contrail at high altitude. **
#00095 Incredible evening shot of Ground Crew of the 38th Fighter Squadron unwrapping and preparing 108 U.S. gallon 'long haul' drop tanks. The color in this photograph, in the late evening sun, is quite stunning. Compared to their metal counterparts, paper drop tanks were light and easy to handle; just climb up the stack and toss them down. Unloading this batch are, left to right, S/Sgt. Robert G. Keich, Cpl. Howard Middlemas and Sgt. Michael H. Moran.
#00096 Extraordinary quality photograph, taken by Robert T Sand, of the vapor trails of returning fighters and bombers in the late summer evening sky. Must have been breath-taking! **
#00097 [L to R: Sgt Woods (assistant crew chief, Lt Miller (engineering officer, Lt Grimmer (communications officer) MSgt Stone (flight chief), at bottom Zuckermann (radio man), after 12/24/1944 mission to Germany. It a fruitful day for them! This P51D of the 38FS has returned home on Christmas Eve after what was a verys successful day for 55FG! After escorting bombers to hit enemy airfields in Western Germany. With the later assistance of the 357th FG, the trip saw one of the most fruitful days for the 55th, as a total of 15 German fighters were destroyed in the air (8 x Fw190's & 7 x Me 109s) ! The group was to have its biggest test, however, when all the pilots at Wormingford treated and entertained the local orphan group for Christmas. **
#00098 Capt. Robert Schmidt's Tar Baby cruses back home with the 356th Fighter Group after an escort mission. Used to be Capt. Crump's plane called 'Jackie', image 00380. A testament to the guys on the ground who repaint these planes so well. **
#00099 Rich color in this picture of 'Belle Of Belmont ' taxiing for take-off past the drop tank farm at Boxted, this 56th Fighter Group P-47D is ready to head for Germany as its crew chief looks on. Flown Lt. Arnold A. Laflam - serial 42-26293 - desig'n 'UN-L'. The aircraft was named after his home town. ** Taxiing past the drop tank farm at Boxted, this 56th Fighter Group P-47D is ready to head for Germany as its crew chief looks on. (JE)
#00100 Ole Baldy' B24H sits in its 486th Bomb Group revetment at Sudbury while being serviced for the next day's mission. It was transferred late August 44 to 445th BG 701st BS & lost on 27th Sept. '44 on Kassel mission.
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