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Thread: Spitfire Loss 12/01/1944

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    Default Spitfire Loss 12/01/1944

    Hi guys

    Lance Wade's crash.

    I know this has been discussed before

    http://www.rafcommands.com/cgi-bin/dcforum/dcboard.cgi?az=show_thread&om=12695&forum=DCForumI D6

    But Andrew Thomas, in Osprey's “American Spitfire Aces of World War 2” states:

    "Tragically, 'Wildcat' Wade would be killed in a flying accident at Amendola after visiting his old unit early in the NewYear. The demise of the most successful American Spitfire pilot was witnessed by Paul Carll, a pilot with the 57th FC's 64th FS;

    'It occurred on Wednesday, 12 January 1944 at about 1500 hrs. Lance was flying a Spitfire V, and in his role as CO ofthe RAF's No 239 Wing, he had came over to visit our CO, Lt Col Archie Knight. He arrived at about 1400 hrs. They had their meeting, which lasted for about an hour, and Lance prepared to leave. Our strip lay east to west. The wind was from the east, and Lance took off from west to east. The west end of the runway was directly south ofour tent.

    'I watched him take-off, and as soon as he got offthe ground and picked up his wheels, he did a slow roll. He remained low and did a 180-degree left hand turn. He came back parallel to the runway, between our tent and the runway, and started another slow roll. He fell out of this one right before my eyes. His left wing hit the ground and the aeroplane crashed and burned furiously. Lance had no chance. The Spitfire V he was flying was used as a utility aeroplane by the Headquarters flight of No 239 Wing, whilst its frontline units were primarily operational with newer model Spitfires. Speculation was that Lance had not made allowance for the underpowered MkV. There was no room for error when performing a manoeuvre like that.' " (pages 68-69)

    I would appreciate any help in tracking down the Spitfire as I have been unable to find an appropriate one for that date in the Spitfire List. And Shores in Aces High states that it was an Auster (as do other resources)

    Cheers

    A

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    Default Wing Commander Lance Cleo WadeDFC & Bar , DSO

    Hello Amrit,

    Strange that the story of his loss has this oddity.

    Twin engined Auster (?) or Spitfire V (?)

    Aces high has Auster spun in at Foggia.

    Vol 2 has revised list of claims down as 23 and 2 shared destroyed, 1 probable, 13 damaged, 1 destroyed ground, 5 damaged ground.

    His Squadron may well have been on Spitfires but he may well have used a Squadron utility a/c to make a personal visit ?

    All the best
    Alex

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    Google News Archive has following headline for 1944..

    It says 'Liaison Plane ' I woul rather believe a newspaper report from the time, than someones memory 40 years later...

    Wade, American Ace in RAF, Killed in Crash Of Liaison Plane After...
    $3.95 - New York Times - Jan 20, 1944
    Lance Wade of the Royal Air Force, veteran of the Eagle Squadron with ... Lance C. Wade Associated Press, 1942 with the guys I have been with so long now. ...

    Time has Jan. 31, 1944

    Died. Lance Wade, 26, ace Wing Commander of the R.A.F.; in a behind-the-line crash; in Italy. The modest Texan had a score of 25 confirmed kills, one less than the U.S. record for World War II.
    Last edited by paulmcmillan; 25th June 2009 at 15:24.

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    Cheers guys. My doubts are based on the lack of a viable Spitfire loss. I have been contacted by someone, on my other forum, who is adament that Lance was killed in a Spitfire crash, that he knows the serial of the Spitfire*, and that the only writer who has got the correct details of the Lance's death is Thomas.

    * but has not divulged this info to me even though I asked.

    Paul, thanks for the heads up on the NYT article. Unfortunately, I tried registering on the site so I could purchase a copy but the registration keeps failing. Oh well, was worth a try. But the hint of a Liaison Plane is promising.

    A

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    Amrit

    Managed to entice some more bits of info from Google News

    "
    Wade, American Ace in RAF, Killed in Crash Of Liaison Plane After Downing 25 of Foe
    E-MAIL
    By Broadcast to THE NEW YORK TIMES.

    January 20, 1944, Thursday

    Page 4, 261 words

    ALGIERS, Jan. 19 -- A young American from Tucson, Ariz.,
    who became known as the greatest fighter pilot in the Mediterranean theatre,
    although he once had been told he would never become a fighter pilot,
    has flown his last mission.

    Lance Wade of the Royal Air Force, veteran of the Eagle Squadron
    with twenty-five confirmed victories to his record. Barely 28 years old,
    he died in Italy when a small communications plane crashed behind l the lines,
    according to a brief announcement today"

    Just noticed the Osprey book by Andy Thomas says

    "The Spitfire V he was flying was used as a utility aeroplane by the Headquarters flight of No 239 Wing, "

    Prehaps the original press announcment was taken by the newpapers to mean a 'Auster like aeroplane', whereas they were using a Spit for Liasion...


    Google Books..

    Fighter aces‎ - Page 124
    by Raymond F. Toliver, Trevor J. Constable - 1965 - 354 pages

    Wing Commander Wade lost his life over an Allied air base at Amendola, Italy, in
    the accidental crash of his Spitfire. He was buried in the military ...
    Snippet view - About this book - Add to my library - More editions
    Last edited by paulmcmillan; 25th June 2009 at 18:01.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amrit View Post
    Cheers guys. My doubts are based on the lack of a viable Spitfire loss. I have been contacted by someone, on my other forum, who is adament that Lance was killed in a Spitfire crash, that he knows the serial of the Spitfire*, and that the only writer who has got the correct details of the Lance's death is Thomas.

    * but has not divulged this info to me even though I asked.

    A

    Prehaps because he wants to reveal all in a book ??

    http://www.historynet.com/lance-wade-world-war-ii-raf-ace-fighter-pilot.htm


    There is alos doubt was it Foggia or Amendola
    Last edited by paulmcmillan; 25th June 2009 at 18:30.

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    Was doing some hunting around for this and noted Osprey's Late Mark Spit Aces by Alfred Price (per google books) lists the aircraft as being an Auster so no correlation from that publishing source!
    Last edited by Andy in West Oz; 25th June 2009 at 22:43.

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    Thank you, Paul, for the article. And I think I may have to invest a few pennies on the accident card for the Auster (if I can find it). And cheers Andy for the heads up on the other Osprey book. Am surprised no mention is made of the Spit/Auster serial in either the book, especially as Osprey are usually very good on such facts. Would have "confirmed" it either way

    A

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    Auster may be MT415 as per original posting

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    Hello friends,
    Also have Auster MT415 in my files. WADE (I've him as a member of NA HQs) visited old friends of 145 Sqn at Foggia. Posthumously awarded the DSO. Mortal remains repatriated from USMC Mirandola (18 km NE of Modena) to USA code 8500 = Texas. Buried Reklew, Texas.
    Regards,
    Henk.

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