P-38H-1-LO 42-66719 was assigned to the 55FG/38FS at Nuthampstead, UK. On 18-Oct-43 the aircraft, piloted by 2LT Hugh E. Gillette, was deaptched with 32 others on a mission to escort bombers headed for Duren, Germany. Weather conditions made it impossible for the fighters to rendevous with the bomber stream and both the fighters and the bombers were recalled. It is believed that the aircraft sustained some sort of mechanical failure and 2LT Gillette radioed his flight leader that he was turning back. Last communication from 2LT Gillette said that he was abandoning the aircraft approximately 50 east of Clacton, UK. Air-Sea Rescue arrived at his reported position within eight minutes but neither he nor his aircraft were ever found. 1KIA MACR 1040.
The 55th Fighter Group were the first P-38 Lightning Group to go fully operational from England. The pilots flew long-range escort missions for bombers flying over occupied Europe and racked up 'kills' of their own by destroying enemy aircraft in...
Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 55th Fighter Group
Killed in Action (KIA) on 18-Oct-43 as pilot of P-38H 42-66719 while on an operation to escort bombers headed for Duren, Germany. Weather prevented rendeavous of fighters with the bomber formations and both the fighter and the bombers were recalled. He...
18 October 1943
This mission was composed of two fighter elements. The first element was a force of 33 P-38s from 55FG despatched to accompany bomber formations headed for Duren, Germany. Weather conditions prevented rendevous with the bomber stream and both the...
Military site : airfield
Built during 1942-43, Nuthampstead was the nearest Eighth Air Force heavy bomber base to London. It had three concrete runways, 50 loop hardstandings and two dispersed T2 hangars. It was first occupied from September 1943 to April 1944 by the 55th...
|Failed to Return (FTR) Over Water (OW)
||18 October 1943
Believed to have sustained some mechanical failure and was seen to turn back. Aircraft abandoned over the sea 50 miles east of Clacton.