KITS 02/2022

Spitfire Mk.Vb trop, AB502, W/Cdr Ian Richard Gleed, CO of No. 244 Wing, Bou Grara, Tunisia, March-April 1943

At the end of January 1943, Ian "Widge" Gleed took command of No. 244 Wing in North Africa, the only unit comprising Spitfire

units - Nos. 92, 145 and 601 Squadrons RAF, No. 417 Squadron RCAF and No. 1 Squadron SAAF. Gleed was in command until April

16, when he was shot down during an afternoon patrol over the Cap Bon area. His defeater was probably Lt. Ernst-Wilhelm Reinet,

the ace of JG 77. After being hit, Gleed headed for the Tunisian coast with the damaged aircraft. His Spitfire AB502 was found on

the sand dunes near the sea on the west coast of Cap Bon. However, his body was not found with the Spitfire, it was recovered

later. It is not known whether he died from his injuries or during the crash landing. What is certain is that he was first buried at

Tazoghran and reburied at Enfidaville Military Cemetery on April 25, 1944. All of the planes Gleed flew had a black cat painted on

the starboard side, just below the cockpit. It was "Figaro", a character from the story of Pinocchio. The same was true of the two

Aboukir tropical filter equipped Spitfires (ER170 and AB502) that Gleed used as commander of No. 244 Wing. Both had also Gleed's

initials IR-G painted on the fuselage, rendered in Light Mediterranean Blue with white outline. During March and April 1943, Gleed

achieved his last kills in the cockpit of AB502 – one Bf 109G and two damaged Bf 109Fs. During his wartime career Ian Gleed shot

down a total of 16 aircraft. Seven more he downed probably and damaged four.

Spitfire Mk.Vb trop, EP689, S/Ldr Stanislaw Skalski, CO of No. 601 Squadron, Pachino, Italy, July 1943

Stanisław Skalski, the most successful Polish fighter pilot, was given command of No. 601 Squadron "County of London" in mid-July 1943. He became only the second Pole to be given command of an RAF squadron. During his three-month leadership of the

unit, he used several Spitfires of different versions. One of them was EP689 with blue code marking UF-X, equipped with Aboukir

dust filter. No. 601 Squadron was one of the few to use these dust filters operationally. By the end of the war, Stanislaw Skalski had

shot down 24 aircraft. He also shot down one aircraft probably and damaged five.



INFO Eduard - FEBRUARY 2022