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Richard Lear Alexander


He joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in October 1940, and was awarded his pilot wings on September 15, 1941, joining the 133 Eagle Squadron in England. Alexander was credited with destroying 1 enemy aircraft in aerial combat, plus 1 probable, before transferring to the U.S. Army Air Forces and joining the 4th Fighter Group on September 23, 1942. He joined the 109th Observation Squadron in January 1943, and then the 2nd Fighter Squadron of the 52nd Fighter Group in North Africa in April 1943. Lt Alexander destroyed another 4 enemy aircraft in the air from February to May 1944, giving him a total of 5 destroyed and 1 probable for World War II. He was shot down and taken as a Prisoner of War on May 30, 1944, and was held until his camp was liberated in May 1945. While serving with the 60th Fighter Squadron of the 33rd Fighter Group in Germany in January 1947, he was involved in an accident and lost his right arm. Capt Alexander was medically retired from the Air Force on February 7, 1948.
Post War: Owner/operator Dick Alexander Limited
National Sales Manager, Herschede Hall Clock Co.
Author, They Called Me Dixie (1988)

DFC Citation:
'His Distinguished Flying Cross Citation reads: For extraordinary achievement in aerial flight as pilot of a P-51 type aircraft. On 24 May 1944 Lt. Alexander participated as escort to heavy bombers attacking enemy installations in Austria. Turning from the target after a highly successful bombing run the bomber formation was attacked from the rear by five enemy fighters. With complete disregard for the overwhelming odds Lt. Alexander immediately turned into the enemy aircraft forcing them to break off their attacks. In the ensuing engagement he singled out one enemy fighter and through outstanding combat skill he succeeded in destroying it. Re-joining his formation he escorted the bombers safely to base without loss. By his outstanding courage, combat proficiency and devotion to duty together with personal combat record of three enemy aircraft destroyed and over sixty five successful missions against the enemy Lt. Alexander has upheld the highest traditions of the Military service thereby reflecting great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of the United States of America.'


Units served with

  • 8th Air Force

    8th Air Force

    Eighth Air Force Bomber Command became the Eighth Air Force on February 1944, it oversaw bombardment of strategic targets in Europe until 1945. ...

  • 4th Fighter Group

    4th Fighter Group

    Some of the pilots of the 4th Fighter Group had seen many hours of combat by the time they joined the 4th Fighter Group as they had volunteered with the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Royal Air Force. The three 'Eagle Squadrons' of RAF Fighter...

  • 52nd Fighter Group

    52nd Fighter Group

    Two of the Squadrons of the 52nd Fighter Group flew Spitfires with RAF Fighter Command in August and early September 1942 from Northern Ireland. After these preparatory missions, the Group joined the Twelfth and then Fifteenth Air Force in the...

  • 109th Observation Squadron
  • 336th Fighter Squadron

    336th Fighter Squadron

    The 336th Fighter Squadron was constituted by the War Department on 22 august 1942, and was activated at Bushey Hall, England, on 12 September. It had been designated as No. 133 (Eagle) Squadron, and was made up of American volunteers to the Royal Air...

  • No 133 'Eagle' Squadron

    No 133 'Eagle' Squadron

    'On 1 August 1941, No. 133 reformed at Coltishall as the third 'Eagle' Squadron manned by American personnel. Equipped with Hurricanes it became operational at the end of September. The next month the Squadron moved to Northern Ireland, returning to...

  • 2nd Fighter Squadron


  • BL722 'Sondra Lee IX'

    Supermarine Spitfire BL722 Mk Vb, Built at Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory. ...

  • BL773 'Dixie MK IV'

    Supermarine Spitfire BL773 Mk Vb, Built at Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory. ...

  • BM353

    Supermarine Spitfire BM353 Mk Vb, Built at Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory. ...

Associated Place

  • Biggin Hill

    Military site : airfield
    An RAF Station with US lodger units. USAAF Spitfires and P-38s were attached to RAF No 11 Group stations in mid-1942 for training; also used for special operations by British and US forces.

  • Debden

    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...

  • Stalag Luft III

    Other location

  • Eagle Squadrons Memorial

    Other location


Event Location Date
Born Grant Park, IL 60940, USA 22 July 1914

Son of Harry and Ada [Zimmerman] Alexander.

Lived in Grant Park, IL 60940, USA 1930
Based 23 September 1942 – 30 May 1944

Transferred to USAAF. Assigned to 133FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF.

Prisoner of War (POW) Zagan, Poland 30 May 1944 – May 1945

Prisoner of War (POW). Stalag Luft III.

Baled out POW 30 May 1944

Shot down, baled out. POW

Died Piper City, IL 60959, USA 19 April 1993
Buried Brenton Cemetery, Piper City, IL 22 April 1993

Brenton Cemetery, Piper City, Illinois, USA.


Date Contributor Update
23 October 2021 19:51:01 Al_Skiff Changes to events

Date Contributor Update
22 October 2021 17:05:54 jmoore43 Changes to events and place associations

Added POW Camp info to the POW event from WW2 POW records at the National Archives (NARA).
Added an association to Stalag Luft 3 per WW2 POW records at the National Archives (NARA).

Date Contributor Update
23 February 2021 10:07:49 Al_Skiff Changes to biography and events

Date Contributor Update
22 February 2021 21:02:01 jmoore43 Changes to unit associations

Added an association to the 4th FG as listed in the "Summary biography".

Date Contributor Update
22 February 2021 20:40:43 jmoore43 Changes to service number

Added a "-" to the S/N to aid clarity & consistency.

Date Contributor Update
08 November 2017 17:38:14 mvandemark Changes to unit associations

updated from bio

Date Contributor Update
30 January 2016 02:50:14 466thHistorian Changes to service number and events

Date Contributor Update
05 November 2015 20:19:04 Al_Skiff Changes to biography and awards

Date Contributor Update
05 November 2015 19:49:53 Al_Skiff Changes to middlename, nickname, highest rank, role, biography, awards, events, unit associations and place associations

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:22:40 AAM AAM ingest

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia /