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Vernon A Boehle


A 71[Eagle] Sqn RAF Spitfire pilot, transferring to the 334th FS, 4th FG, 8th AF USAAF.
On 9 September 1943, while returning to Debden from a bomber escort mission, his engine failed in his P-47 Thunderbolt "Indianapolis" 41-6400 [QP:O] 4FG/334FS forcing him to parachute into the English Channel. He spent 43 hours in the water before he was rescued.


Units served with

  • 362nd Fighter Group

    362nd Fighter Group

    The Group trained in P-47s and moved to England in November 1943. Arriving earlier than many other Ninth Air Force fighter groups, the pilots main occupation was escort work for heavy bombers. The Group's first mission on 8 February 1944 was one...

  • 334th Fighter Squadron

    334th Fighter Squadron

    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...

  • No 71 'Eagle' Squadron

    No 71 'Eagle' Squadron

    'On 19 September 1940, No. 71 was reformed at Church Fenton as the first 'Eagle' Squadron to be manned by American personnel. The Squadron received Hurricanes in November and became operational on defensive duties on 5 February 1941. No. 71 converted...


  • 41-6400 "Indianapolis"

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    P-47C-5-RE 41-6400 "Indianapolis" [QP:O] was assigned to 4thFG/334FS at Debden, UK. On 9-Sep-43 it was being piloted by CPT Vernon A. Boehle on a bomber escort mission. On return the aircraft sustained an engine failure over the English Channel and CPT...


  • VIII Fighter Command FO-128 BOMBER ESCORT

    9 September 1943
    215 P-47s from: 4FG; 56FG; 78FG; 352FG; and 353FG are despatched is support of OPERATION STARKEY to escort the 330 bombers participating in VIII Bomber Command mission 94. This si the first combat operation for 352FG as they fly a patrol over the...

Associated Place

  • 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...

  • Kirton-in-Lindsey

    Military site : airfield
    Used as an RFC and RAF Home Defence landing ground during the First World War, Kirton-in-Lindsey was built during 1938-40 as an RAF fighter station. It had two grass runways, 10 hardstandings, three grouped C hangars and four over-blister hangars....

  • Lashenden

    Military site : airfield
    Close to but completely separate from RAF Headcorn, Lashenden was built for the RAF during 1942-43 as an Advanced Landing Ground (ALG), initially as a light bomber base and then as a training base for mobile fighter squadrons. Enlarged and improved for...


Event Location Date
Born Indiana, USA 1915
Lived in Indianapolis, IN, USA 1941
Joined RCAF Canada 6 March 1942 – 28 August 1942

Joined RCAF.

Based Kirton-in-Lindsey 28 August 1942 – 29 September 1942

Transferred to 71 [Eagle] Sqn RAF.

Based Debden 29 September 1942 – 23 November 1943

Transferred to 334FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF.

Based Lashenden 23 November 1943 – 1944

Transferred to 362FG, 9AF USAAF.

Died Marion County, IN, USA 26 April 1977
Buried Indianapolis, IN, USA May 1977

Calvary Cemetery
Marion County
Indiana, USA


Date Contributor Update
30 November 2016 14:41:17 Al_Skiff Changes to nickname, highest rank, role, biography, events, unit associations and place associations

Date Contributor Update
03 August 2016 11:53:23 general ira snapsorter Changes to service number and unit associations

Merged with duplicate entries to include details from:
- Ted Damick, VIII Fighter Command pilots list;
- Personal research & 'The Debden Warbirds' by Frank Speer.; (user: apollo11)
- Personal research & 4th Fighter Group 'Debden Eagles' by Chris Bucholz. (user: apollo11);
- the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia /;

Date Contributor Update
04 May 2016 11:48:18 Al_Skiff Changes to middlename and awards

Key image set.

Date Contributor Update
03 October 2015 18:37:35 Al_Skiff Changes to biography, unit associations and place associations

AAM DB entry.

Date Contributor Update
05 June 2015 21:37:58 Lee8thbuff Changes to middlename, biography and mission associations

Lee Cunningham 5-Jun-2015. Made connections to Place and Mission, added Radio Call Sign per "Losses of the 8th & 9th AIr Forces" , Stan Bishop & John A. Hey MBE.

Date Contributor Update
26 March 2015 20:03:53 apollo11 Changes to biography

Personal research & 'The Debden Warbirds' by Frank E. Speer.

Date Contributor Update
26 March 2015 19:58:26 apollo11 Changes to highest rank

Personal research & 'The Debden Warbirds' by Frank E. Speer.

Date Contributor Update
21 March 2015 19:09:14 apollo11 Changes to role, biography and place associations

Personal research & 'The Debden Warbirds' by Frank Speer.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:26:23 AAM AAM ingest

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR, Losses of the 8th & 9th AFs Vol. I by Bishop & Hey p. 279