P-39Q-5, 42-19896, flown by Lt. William W. Gambill, 363rd FS, 357th FG, 8th AF, Oroville CA, USA, autumn 1943
363rd FS was formed in December 1942 at Hamilton Field airbase in California. The aircraft used for the unit’s pilot training were factory-fresh P-39Q Airacobras. In the
fall of 1943 357th Fighter Group, which 363rd Fighter Squadron was part of, was deployed to the Great Britain where it was, as a first Fighter Group, re-equipped with
the outstanding P-51B and C Mustangs. Within 8th AF it flew bomber escort sorties over occupied Europe. On March 8th, 1944, Gambill’s Mustang was shot down
by Messerschmitts Bf 109 near Mehringen. Lt. Gambill was killed during the British night bomber raid on Frankfurt during the night of March 22nd-23rd, 1944, when
Dulag Luft (Durchgangslager der Luftwaffe, Transit Camp of the Air force) was hit as well. The standard Airacobra camouflage of Olive Drab/Neutral Gray was during the
training at 363rd FS complemented by the red coat of the tail surfaces and red stripe on the nose. The cockpit doors sported the unit’s emblem.
INFO Eduard - May 2021