44-13761, flown by Capt. Jack M. Ilfrey, 79th FS, 20th FG, 8th AF, USAAF Station 367 Kings Cliffe, Northamptonshire, Great Britain, Autumn 1944
Captain Jack Ilfrey became an ace in North Africa, where he claimed 5½ kills (and 2 damaged) while flying P-38F “Texas Terror”.
He joined 20th FG, 79th FS at USAAF Station Kings Cliffe in England on April 20, 1944, serving as Ops Officer from June 14, 1944. He
claimed two more Bf 109Gs on May 24, flying P-38J “Happy Jack´s go Buggy”. He was shot down behind enemy lines in France on
June 12, but he successfully evaded capture walking and cycling 150 miles to Allied lines in Normandy with help of French civilians.
He became 79th FS CO on September 7, leading the unit until December 9, 1944. He completed 142 combat missions over ETO and
MTO. The 20th FG did not replace their P-38Js with P-51Cs until July 1944, changing them for P-51Ds shortly afterwards. The early
Mustangs of the 20th FG are known to have upper surfaces overpainted with green color, probably with RAF Dark Green, with
irregular splitting line between green upper surfaces and silver/natural metal bottom surfaces. The 20th FG was nicknamed “Loco
Busters” because made significant number of attacks against railroad network.
44-13597, flown by Lt. William E. Fowler, 487th FS, 352nd FG, 8th AF, USAAF Station 141 Bodney,
Norfolk, Great Britain, September 1944
Lt. Col. John C. Meyer, acting CO of the 487th FS and the ace credited with 37½ destroyed enemy aircraft, claimed four of his 24
aerial victories in cockpit of this mount on September 11, 1944. Stardust was originally a personal aircraft of Lt. William E. Fowler,
nicknamed „Flaps“, who ended his combat tour just three days before Meyer´s four-victory raid. The Stardust was than assigned to
Lt. Jack „Moose“ Landrum, who renamed it „Moose“. He was shot down and killed on October 24, 1944, while strafing at Hannover.
The 352nd Fighter Group, based at USAAF Station Bodney, was fourth most successful FG of the 8th USAAF with 519 enemy planes destroyed in the air and 287 on the ground, with 119 losses of their own. All three squadrons painted noses of their Mustangs
with blue colour. In September 1944, the paint of the noses was changed from Medium Blue to the Dark Blue, which remained the
Group´s color until end of the War. Note the light area over the fuselage national insignia of the Stardust, which is clear natural
metal surface after the washing of the invasion stripes on the upper surfaces including the upper surfaces of the wings.
INFO Eduard - January 2022