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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.|
Lt Col Donald S Bryan (deceased)
*Signature Value : £40
|Originally a P-40 instructor with the 79th Fighter Squadron, 20th Fighter Group, Don Bryan then transferred to the 328th Fighter Squadron, 352nd Fighter Group as a flight leader flying P-47s. Moving to Bodney, England, in June, he flew with the group on its first combat mission in September, flying his P-47 "Little One", named after his girlfriend Frances Norman. In April 1944, he transferred to P-51s, "Little One II" and "Little One III", and completed his first combat tour in May 1944. He returned to the 328th Fighter Squadron in August, became an Ace two months later, and gained "Ace in a Day" status on 2nd November when he downed five Fw190s in a single mission. Don flew 140 combat missions, never lost a wingman, and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, second only to the Medal of Honor. Lt Col Bryan died on 15th May 2012.|
|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.|
See our aviation history timeline for all today's historical aviation events - air victories, aircraft losses and pilot details.
|RECENT UPDATES TO OUR AVIATION HISTORY DATABASES|
|Updates made to Aircrew database for : Flying Officer W M Blom : Squadron service dates updated|
|Updates made to Aircrew database for : Robinson : Squadrons updated (added No.99 Sqn RAF), Squadron service dates updated|
|349th Bomb Squadron added to the squadrons database.|
|Updates made to Aircrew database for : Piper : Squadrons updated (added No.149 Sqn RAF), Squadron service dates updated|
|Updates made to Aircrew database for : Pilot Officer Robinson :|
|561st Bomb Squadron added to the squadrons database.|
|Updates made to Aircrew database for : Pilot Officer Oliver Bertram Morrogh-Ryan : First name updated (now Oliver Bertram), Deceased updated, Aircraft updated, Squadrons updated (added No.68 Sqn RAF), Airframes updated, Squadron service dates updated, Rank updated (now Pilot Officer)|
|New victory claim added : Me110 claimed on 15th September 1940 by Jozef Jeka of No.238 Sqn RAF|
|Updates made to Aircrew database for : Pilot Officer John Romney Mather : First name updated (now John Romney), Aircraft updated (added Spitfire), Airframes updated (added Spitfire P7539), Squadron service dates updated, Rank updated (now Pilot Officer)|
|Warrant Officer David Fraser added to aircrew database :|
Was on his 4th Operation as a Rear Gunner with 115 Sqn on Wellingtons when he was shot down by night fighters on a raid to Hamburg on 10th May 1941. He then spent 4 years as a Prisoner of War.
|SEARCH OUR AVIATION HISTORY DATABASES|
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