W3518, S/Ldr Count Franz F. Colloredo-Mansfeld, CO of No. 132 Squadron, RAF Newchurch,
Kent, Great Britain, September 1943
An American citizen, Harvard University graduate, Franz Ferdinand Count of Colloredo-Mansfeld, was born in Rome, son of an Austrian diplomat, Count Ferdinand Colloredo-Mansfeld (1878-1967) and his American spouse Eleonor, born Iselin. After 1918 the family settled in the USA.
Before the USA entry into the war, Franz Ferdinand had volunteered for RAF where he achieved the rank of Squadron Leader and on August 15,
1943 assumed the command of No. 132 Squadron. On September 9, 1943, flying Spitfire Mk.Vb W3518 he participated in the mock invasion operation Starkey which purpose was to create fear of invasion in the German Command and lure the German troops out of Italy and the Eastern
Front to the West. On that occasion the wing tips were painted with black and white identification stripes, predecessors of the later well-known
invasion stripes used during the operation Overlord. S/Ldr Franz F. Colloredo-Mansfeld perished in his Spitfire Mk.IX near Berck-sur-Mer on
January 14, 1944.
EN921, F/O Jackson E. Sheppard, No. 401 Squadron RCAF, RAF Biggin Hill, Great britain, October 1943
„Jack“ Sheppard, originally a dock worker, enlisted in the RCAF in 1939 and till August 1940 served with No. 120 Squadron. In August 1941 he
completed the pilot training at No. 53 OTU and in November 1941 was assigned to No. 43 Squadron. In December he volunteered for the convoy
escorts. On February 10, 1942 he crashed into the sea in Hurricane Z4569 having been catapulted from a deck of a transport boat. In July 1943
he became an A Flight leader with No. 401 Squadron. In April 1944 he assumed command of a flight of the No. 412 Squadron and led the unit
till August 2 when he was shot down by German fighters in Normandy. He managed to avoid capture and returned to the unit. On August 22
he was decorated with DFC and in October he returned to Canada. In February 1946 he finally left the military service. Jackson Sheppard flew
Spitfire serialed EN921 on the regulas basis from July till October 1943. Even though he did not score any of his 5 kills in its cockpit, he flew this
aircraft on many offensive sweeps including the mock operation Starkey on September 9, 1943.
INFO Eduard - November 2021