Appeal for Help.

I have been contacted by a reader looking for information about an airman who served with the 352nd FG. If anyone has any information about his service post war, could they please contact my self or Jean-Pierre through the post.

Joel W. McPherson, born on March 12th, 1918 in Vance (Alabama), and was the son of Lewis Neal McPherson (1886-1965) and Kate Maye White (1892-1974). After leaving High School, he was employed as an electrician, and lived in Lakewood, county of Cuyahoga, Ohio.

He was 21 years old when the Second World War began and on January 27th, 1942, he joined the USAAF in Fort Hayes, Columbus, Ohio (number 15074789) for what would be the duration of the war; leaving some 6 months after the cessation of conflict.

He was posted to RAF Bodney (Station 141) and the 352nd FG HQ. As a 1st Lt. (s/n 0-732302) he flew a P-47D-11-RE ‘Thunderbolt’ ’42-75532′, (HO-?).

On January 29th 1944, McPherson took part in a mission to Frankfurt, a number of kills were recorded here but following the battle McPherson ran out of fuel over France; he parachuted to safety near Rouillac Charente*. He continued to fight alongside the French Maquis, eventually being captured by the Germans. He was able to escape making his way back to England.

McPherson was decorated with the Air medal, for “Meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight”, he left the service 6 months after the end of the war.

Joel McPherson eventually died on October 14th 1981, in Winter Haven, Florida at the age of 63.

Does anybody know what happened to him between 1944 and 1981? Can you help?

*Missing Air Crew Report 2124 : “Missing in return vicinity Hodi, Belgium” Report by Capt. Preddy & 1st Lt McMahon

My thanks to Dr. Jean-Pierre Duhard for all the above information.

Note :  Dr Duhard has since made contact with Mr McPherson’s son. My gratitude to those of you who passed information on, it was very much appreciated.  Andy. 

16 Air forces Covered the Globe

The USAAF was an enormous organisation, employing some 2.5 million people during the Second World War. Its influence ranged form the United States West Coast, through Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the Far East, the Pacific and back. Organising something as big as this, especially during war-time, was a logistical nightmare.

I have made it a personal challenge to figure out how it all slotted together and have managed, in a small part, to assemble a guide to the various complicated air forces and its overall hierarchical structure.

The challenge continues, but so far it’s not bad. Maybe you could shed some light on this huge organisation and unravel its hidden mysteries. See it here.

P-51 ‘Princess Elizabeth‘ at Duxford

Princess Elizabeth was originally the P-51B ’42-106449′ of Lt William T Whisner, and latterly Lt Robert Butler, 487nd FS, 352nd FG, Eighth Airforce, and was lost to Flak on June 6th 1944. The ‘Blue Nosed Bastards of Bodney‘ gained a remarkable reputation, and were to become one of the most successful Fighter Groups of the Eighth Air force. Bodney today.

“If I can’t shoot them down, I’ll scare them down” – Trail 8

“If I can’t shoot them down, I’ll scare them down” Major John Meyer, of the 487th Fighter Squadron, 352nd Fighter Group RAF Bodney, prepares to take off on another sortie against the Luftwaffe, in his P-51 Mustang ‘Lambie II‘.

Today, Bodney is an Army training barracks operated by STANTA. What little remains of the airfield is run down and overgrown.

The 352nd became known for their determination and valour and earned themselves the name of the ‘Blue Nosed Bastards of Bodney’ because of their distinctive blue nosed P-51s.

Read more at…

P-51 Blue Nosed Mustang ‘Princess Elizabeth’ Lt William Whisner 487th FS Bodney, Seen at Duxford.