IWM catalogue record
This contains information written on the back of the original print and some of it may be inaccurate.
Pilots of the 79th Fighter Squadron, 20th Fighter Group, stand around a map at Kings Cliffe air base before mission over northern France, October 1943. L to R: First Lieutenant Merle B. Nichols, Seattle, Wash.; Major Nathaniel H. Blanton, Earlsboro, Oklahoma and First Lieutenant Richard P. Gatterdam, Columbus, Ohio. Censor has drawn lines across the map. Each of these pilots went on to command one of the squadrons of the 20th Fighter Group. Gatterdam commanded the 55th Fighter Squadron, Nichols the 77th and Blanton the 79th. Printed caption attached to print: 'Lightnings Attack Northern France. Versatile P-38 Lightnings, flashing their power across the English Channel for the first time in a combat role, bring new serial phase into the European Theatre of Operations. Well-trained pilots - some of them already experienced in the other theatres of war - and ground crews swear by their ships. From briefing room to flying line, from runways to skyways and contest with the enemy, each mission represents expert planning by Operations and Intelligence and the brains and sweat of every man who prepares an order or tightens a screw on a prop. Photo shows:- 1st Lt. Merle B. Nichols, Seattle, Wash.; Major Nathaniel H. Blanton, Earlsboro, Oklahoma and 1st Lt. Richard P. Gatterdam, Columbus, Ohio. U.S. Pool/SG/H. Keystone 81.'
In August 1943, the 20th Fighter Group arrived in Clyde, Scotland, before travelling to Kings Cliffe, Northamptonshire, which was to be their base for the rest of the war. The Group flew 312 missions before their last mission on 25 April 1945. The...
Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Fighter Pilot 1055 single engine/Squadron Commander
Assigned to 24th PG in Philippines evacuated to Australia. Went to Java with the 17th PS and then 7th FS 49thFG in Australia and New Guinea completed tour and was credited with downing 4 Japanese Zeros.
Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Fighter Pilot; Squadron Commanding Officer
3 FW 190, 1 Me 109, 2 1/2 HE115, 1/2 ME 210
Military site : airfield
Kings Cliffe began as a satellite air base for the Group based at nearby Wittering. The 56th Fighter Group, however, were all based at Kings Cliffe and it was here that the pilots trained in P-47 Thunderbolts and flew their first missions in the...