The Olivier LeFloch Newsletters – Issue No. 11

This month’s edition of the Olivier LeFloch Newsletters, the eleventh in the series, contains several Pilots’ and a Crew Chief’s personal diary recollections, written in April and May 1944, and several previously unpublished photographs of 367th FG aircrew at Stoney Cross, in the summer of 1944. It is clear that the Americans were impressed with the airfield but they suffered from being assigned many worn out and badly maintained aircraft, which amounted to around three quarters of the total of 85 aircraft. Many needed urgent modifications to bring them up to operational readiness and the ground crews worked night and day to do so.                                                                                                          As has been previously chronicled here, only three of the pilots (out of a total of ninety) had ever flown a twin engined aircraft, when they arrived at Stoney Cross. They were carrying out combat patrols five weeks later.                                                                                  It also contains the somewhat amusing report that “All the enlisted men in the FG had the bullets taken from them as they spent time off hunting deer, rabbit and fox to supplement the terrible English food. The airfield was considered “Royal Property” and thus the game belonged to the King……” (The airfield location was, and still is, within the boundaries of the New Forest, which was declared a Royal hunting ground since about 1079 AD by William the Conqueror – Ed.).                                                                                                                Following this section, there is a tribute to 2nd Lt. George S. White, 393rd Fighter Squadron. Next is the amazing story of the late Clyde Deavers’ flying helmet. Clyde was tall for a fighter pilot, around six foot four inches. He struck the tail unit of his P-38J aircraft when he bailed out and subsequently had to have a leg amputated, when his Lightning was hit by anti-aircraft fire, on a low level strafing run in France .                                                  The Newsletter concludes with a list of Group Missions flown in December 1944. Newsletter 367th Fighter Group issue 11

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