Capt. Nicholas Megura of the 334th Fighter Squadron, 4th Fighter Group, in cockpit, at Debden air base, 8 March 1944. Caption on reverse: Pilots of the P-51s. Lt.Col. Donald J. M. Blakeslee's Mustang Group. Associated Press photo shows: Lt. Nicholas Megura, aged 24, of 108 Broad Street, Ansonia, Conn., has been on first two raids over Berlin and shot down two planes each time. WOR265648. 8344EM. Stamp (Passed for publication - General Section, Press & Censorship Bureau, 9 March 1944)
4th Fighter Group personnel beside P-47 Thunderbolt "Ill Wind?" at Debden, January 1944. The pilot of the aircraft was Captain Nicholas Megura of the 334th Fighter Squadron.
Thunderbolt pilots of the 4th Fighter Group in the briefing room at Debden. The 4th Fighter Group flew P-47 Thunderbolts on missions between March 1943 and February 1944. In the centre of the image, looking straight at the camera is James A. Goodson. On the far right of the shot, wearing a garrison cap, is Lieutenant Paul S. Riley. The two men at the front of the shot, sitting on wicker chairs, are, left to right Lieutenant James A Clark and Lieutenant Spiros S Pisanos. The airman in the back row, with his hand on his chin is Second Lieutenant Kenneth D Peterson. Printed caption attached to print: 'P-47 Thunderbolt pilots listen intently as Intelligence Officers brief them before the start of a mission over France.'
Others in frame: 1st Lt's Jack L Raphael, Earle W Carlow, Vernon A Boehle, Douglas E Booth, Aubrey Stanhope, Pierce L Wiggin, Frank M Fink, Donald H Ross. Capt's Cecil E Manning, Richard G Braley, Nicholas 'Cowboy' Megura, Robert G 'Digger' Williams and Major's Howard W 'Deacon' Hively, Duane W Beeson.
Nose art for Captain Nicholas Megura's P47 Thunderbolt "ILL WIND?".
Assistant crew chief Sgt. Jerome J. Byrge (left) and crew chief S/Sgt. Paul G. Fox, change the spark plugs on Capt. Nicholas Megura's P-51 Mustang "Ill Wind", QP-N, Serial No. 43-6636.
The 4th Fighter Group's legendary nose art artist S/Sgt Don Allen applis kill markings to Nicholas Megura's P-51B Mustang 'ILL WIND?'.
The Eighth Air Force was unique in the USAAF for giving ground kills the same status as aircraft that were shot down.
A mock briefing of 4th Fighter Group pilots at Debden. Pilots include (order unknown): Lt. Ralph Hofer, Capt. William Smith, Lt. Warren Johnson, Lt. Ralph Saunders, Lt. Howard Moulton, Lt. Donald Patchen, Capt. Reuben Simon, Lt. Donald Emerson, Lt. Leonard Pierce, Lt. Robert Church, Capt. Alfred Markel, Lt. David Howe, Capt. Bud Care, Lt. Richard Reed, Lt. Robert Kenyon, Capt. David Van Epps, Lt. Robert Carr, Lt. William Rowles, Lt. Allen Bunte, Maj. James Goodson, Lt. Lloyd Henry, Lt. Shelton Monroe, Capt. Robert Hobert, Capt. Mike Sobanski, Capt. Nicholas Megura, Capt. Duane Beeson, Capt. Don Gentile, and Lt. Col. Jim Clark, Jr. (map in hand).
Note that this particular images cuts off a little of boths sides so a few pilots mentioned are not actully in the picture.
Nicholas Megura was born on 28 July 1920 at Ansonia, Connecticut.
He was expelled as freshman from Philips University for "high-jinx".
Later on he wnt to work at the Vought-Sikorsky plant, taking up flying on the side. He joined the RCAF and, when the opportunity arose, he transferred to the USAAF in July 1943. He was assigned to the 4th Fighter Group, 334th Squadron. Nine months later, having flown P-47s and then P-51s, he had destroyed 16 enemy aircraft and damaged six, 15 of them in a two-month period.
On his third trip to Berlin, flying his P-51 "Ill Wind?", "Cowboy", as he was known, contemplated two previous trips over Germany where he had scored double enemy aircraft destroyed. As the Mustangs approached rendezvous with the bombers five Me-109s dove down at them from out of the sun. Megura latched onto one of them, which he quickly dispatched, and immediately had to break away with another one on his tail. He evaded and went to the rescue of a straggler B-17 under attack by several 109s. He zeroed in on one and the German was forced to bail out of his plane.
He then fell in behind a 109 which was circling in the landing pattern of an airfield. No one seemed to notice him as he was about to shoot the 109 with its wheels and flaps down. However, he was suddenly recognised and was attacked head-on by three more 109s. He avoided them and fired at the landing 109, damaging it as it hit the runway. He then headed for home.
He soon encountered a Ju-88, which he fired on with his only operative gun, knocking out one of its engines before he ran out of ammunition. He returned to Debden having scored another double destroyed and two others damaged. A month later he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for this and the two previous actions.
His combat career ended on 23 May 1944. The Group intercepted 30-plus enemy aircraft which were also engaged by several P-38s. Megura, while attacking three Me-109s, had his fuselage raked by gunfire from a P-38 that mistook him for a 109. His coolant system was damaged, causing him to consider bailing out. However, he could not open his canopy and began nursing his stricken plane toward Denmark. He then daringly nursed it even further toward Sweden, where he belly-landed at Kalmar Aerodrome and was immediately interned.
On 28 June he arrived back at Debden, but due to diplomatic relations he was no longer permitted to fly combat, so he was assigned administrative duties.
Megura continued in the Air Force, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel. He died 4 November 1988.
He had been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Distinguished Flying Cross with five Oak Leaf Clusters, the Purple Heart, and the air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters.
Units served with
The 334th Fighter Squadron was the successor to No. 71 Eagle squadron of the Royal Air Force when the 4th Fighter Group was activated on 12 September 1942. They were based at Debden Field, Essex. The "Fighting Eagles" as they were called, flew...
One time personal aircraft of Captain Nocholas "Cowboy" Megura.
Assigned to 334FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. One time aircraft of Major Winslow Sobanski. While attacking a group of Bf109’s with some P-38’s, A/C was mistaken for an Bf109 and damaged in combat by a P-38. With glycol emitting from his engine, pilot Capt...
Thunderbolt P47C-5-RE 41-6405 'Old Red Ass' assigned to 334th FS, 4th FG, 8th AF, pilot Lt Nicholas Megura. Re-assigned to Raymond C 'Bud' Care.
Military site : airfield
RAF Debden, construction of which began in 1935, is perhaps most famous as a Battle of Britain fighter airfield, partly responsible for the defence of London in 1940. In 1942 it was also home to three RAF 'Eagle Squadrons’ of volunteer American pilots...
||Ansonia, CT, USA
||28 July 1920
||23 May 1944
||4 November 1988