KITS 06/2022

MT648, S/Ldr John E. Gasson, CO of No. 92 Squadron, Bellaria, Italy, April-May 1945

Spitfire in this profile was flown by No. 92 Squadron commander John Edward Gasson for the last

two months of the conflict. During his whole combat

career, spent exclusively with this unit, Gasson shot

down three enemy airplanes, two in cooperation, one

probably and damaged seven of them. During the last

months of the war No. 92 Squadron Spitfires carried

the squadron code letters in Light Mediterranean

Blue color trimmed in white, individual code letters

were white. The tip of the vertical tail surface was

also painted white.

1Lt. Leland P. Molland, 308th FS, 31st FG, Castel Volturno,

Italy, December 1943 - February 1944

Leland Phillips "Tommy" Molland was born on May 7,

1919, in Chaffie, North Dakota. He completed his pilot training at Moore Field in Texas. On July 5, 1943,

he joined 31st FG. On January 16, 1944, he scored his

first victory when he managed to shoot down a Bf

109 in cooperation. Other victories followed rapidly.

On February 22, 1944, having shot down two Bf 109,

he became a fighter ace and at the same time the

most successful Spitfire Mk.VIII pilot. After the 31st

FG was re-equipped with the P-51 Mustang at the end

of March 1944 he continued flying combat missions

and shot down another six enemy airplanes. Molland

remained in the air force service after the war, was

promoted to Lt. Colonel rank but on May 16, 1951, tragically lost his life in T-33 when he hit the mountain

on his return from a meteorological reconnaissance

mission over the enemy territory during the Korean


A58-606, S/Ldr Bruce Watson, CO of No. 457 squadron,

Labuan, Borneo, August 1945

When this aircraft was flown to the Philippines at the

end of March 1945, (for trials against captured Japanese aircraft), it had the shark mouth removed as well

as the “Grey Nurse” name on the fuel tank cover. It also

acquired a 12” Sky Blue band around the rear fuselage.

The Sky Blue band was painted over the RAAF serial.

When it returned to No. 457 Squadron at Morotai at the

June 2022

end of April, the shark mouth was painted on again,

but it appears that the “Grey Nurse” name was not. This

aircraft has been fitted with a new lower cowl. It can

be seen that the shark mouth on the engine side cowls

is different to that on the lower cowl. The serial on the

starboard side was re-painted, in Black, over the Sky

Blue band, but the Medium Sea Grey serial in the port

side was not. At this time, shortly before it deployed

to Labuan in June 1945, many aircraft were also fitted

with new rudders, as the fabric deteriorated badly in

the hot and humid conditions. The ‘Ace of Spades’, wing

emblem, was not re-applied to these aircraft and was

over painted on those that did not receive new rudders.

The inner cannon barrel fairings were Foliage Green.

INFO Eduard