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|Signatures on this item|
|*The value given for each signature has been calculated by us based on the historical significance and rarity of the signature. Values of many pilot signatures have risen in recent years and will likely continue to rise as they become more and more rare.|
Captain Wayne L Coleman
*Signature Value : £40
|Joining the service in January 1943, Wayne Coleman was posted to the 82nd Squadron, 78th Fighter Group at Duxford, near Cambridge in July 1944. He flew the first of his 75 combat missions a few days later on August 2nd in P-47s, dive-bombing and strafing in support of the Normandy invasion before converting to P-51s at the end of the year. Wayne shot down three Fw190s in a single mission and later on 31st March 1945, an Me262 jet. He flew continuously until the end of the war.|
Lt Colonel Clark W Clemons (deceased)
*Signature Value : £60
|Clark Clemons joined the service on December 15th 1942 and after training was posted to the Eight Air Force in England, joining the 84th Fighter Squadron, 78th Fighter Group at Duxford. Flying the P-51D, Clark flew 19 combat missions, including a brush with a Me163 rocket plane. His last mission was escorting RAF Lancasters down over southern Europe on a near 7 hour trip. His Mustang was named Frances Dell WZ - W # 4-47297. After the war Lt Colonel Clark W Clemons was a Senior Flight Instructor for United Airlines for many years. Sadly we believe he passed away in 2005.|
|The Aircraft :|
|Mustang||The ubiquitous North American P-51 Mustang, which many consider to be the best all-around fighter of WW II, owes its origins to the British Air Ministry. Following Britains entry into WW II in 1939, the RAF was interested in purchasing additional fighter aircraft from American sources, particularly the Curtiss P-40. Curtiss, which was busy, was unable to guarantee timely delivery so the British approached North American Aviation as a possible second source for the P-40. North American chose to propose its own fighter design which would use the same Allison engine as the P-40. Utilizing new laminar flow wings, the North American fighter was expected to have performance better than the P-40. Developed in record time the new aircraft was designated as a Mustang I by the Brits, whereas the USAAF ordered two for evaluation which were designated XP-51 Apaches. Intrigued with the possibility of using this aircraft also as a dive bomber, North American proposed this to the USAAF which decided to order 500 of the P-51 aircraft to be modified for dive bombing use. Designated as the A-36 Invader, this version of the Mustang utilized dive flaps, and bomb racks under each wing. Some reinforcing of the structural members was also required because of the G-forces to be encountered in dive bombing. A-36s entered combat service with the USAAF prior to any P-51s. In early 1943 the 86th and 27th Fighter Bomber Groups of the 12th Air Force began flying A-36s out of Northern Africa. Despite some early problems with instability caused by the dive flaps, the A-36 was effective in light bombing and strafing roles. It was not, however, capable of dog fighting with German fighters, especially at higher altitudes. Despite these drawbacks one USAAF pilot, Captain Michael T. Russo, who served with the 16th Bomb Squadron of the 27th Fighter Bomber Group, was credited with five confirmed aerial victories in the A-36, thereby becoming the first mustang ace.|
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