Carroll W McColpin


Object Number - UPL 17069 - "P/O C W "Red" McColpin of No 71 (Eagle) Squadron RAF, standing by his Supermarine Spitfire Mk Vb at North Weald, Essex. He later became a flight...

Major General Carroll McColpin was from Buffalo, New York. Born in 1914, he began flying at the age of 14. As a high school boy he built his own plane and taught himself to fly. He became aware that Britain was fighting to repel the Germans in their conquest of Europe, and felt that the U.S. would sooner or later become involved in the war.
Rather than wait and take a chance on becoming a 'ground soldier', he joined the RAF to be a pilot. He had pilot certification and over 475 hours of flight time. Like others with considerable flight time, he had no desire to spend the long tour in the mandatory U.S. Aviation Cadet Training Programme when he was already an experienced aviator. He was sent to Dallas, Texas, for flight training in the RCAF prior to being sent to England to an Operational Training Unit as a Pilot Officer. He eventually served in all three RAF Eagle Squadrons, becoming CO of No. 133 (Eagle) Squadron, and he soon had five aerial victories to his credit. As a Major he, with Chesley Peterson and Gus Daymond, became the first Eagle Squadron pilots to receive the British DFC on 4 October 1941.
On 25 September 1942 he was ordered to London to discuss transferring to the U.S. Army Air Corps. He turned No. 133 (Eagle) Squadron over to Flight Lieutenant Edward Brettell.
Carroll always set up his plane as he wanted it, and he wanted HIS plane whenever he was scheduled to fly. He had an impressive career with 12 enemy aircraft destroyed. He had flown Hurricanes and Spitfires prior to being sent to the States on leave. He returned and served three tours in the European Theatre of Operations as Commanding Officer of the 407th Fighter-Bomber Group and then 404th Fighter Group.
His awards include the Air Force Legion of Merit with two Oak Leaf Clusters, both the U.S. and British Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Air Medal with six Oak Leaf Clusters, and both the Belgian and French Croix de Guerre. He was decorated at Buckingham Palace by King George VI. He was one of the most decorated and admired fighter pilots of the war with 280 combat missions and 12 aerial victories.
Major General McColpin died in November 2004.


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Units served with


  • Aircraft Type: Spitfire
  • Unit: No 71 'Eagle' Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: Spitfire
  • Unit: No 71 'Eagle' Squadron No 121 'Eagle' Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: Spitfire
  • Unit: 4th Fighter Group 336th Fighter Squadron No 121 'Eagle' Squadron No 133 'Eagle' Squadron
  • Aircraft Type: Hurricane
  • Unit: No 121 'Eagle' Squadron


Line up of P-47 Thunderbolts of the 82nd Fighter Squadron, 78th Fighter Group, at Duxford air base. September 1944. Printed caption on reverse of print: '55432 AC - War Birds Home To Rest - Republic P-47 Thunderbolts lined up on an 8th Air Force field in England after a daylight sweep over Germany. Crews have finished inspections and refueling.'
  • Site type: Airfield
  • Known as: "Duckpond"


Event Location Date Description


Buffalo, NY, USA 15 November 1914


28 November 2004 Burial: Arlington National Cemetery Arlington Arlington County Virginia, USA Plot: Sec: 66, Site: 3779




Date26 Feb 2016 12:33:30

Eagle squadron re-alignment.

Date26 Oct 2015 11:40:25
ContributorLucy May

Combined information from a duplicate entry for McColpin into this entry. Now includes information from the following sources:
Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia /

Date6 Oct 2015 22:33:43

I am Tim Wall husband of Carol McColpin Wall. One of two daughters of the late General ...........Buster was his nick name........

Date13 Mar 2015 17:53:03

Personal research & 'Eighty-One Aces of the 4th Fighter Group' by Frank Speer.

Date27 Sep 2014 18:05:14

1996 355TH FG Assoc. Directory / Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia

Carroll W McColpin: Gallery (12 items)