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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.|
Colonel Gabby Gabreski (deceased)
*Signature Value : £80
|Gabby Gabreski was the top scoring 8th Air Force fighter Ace in Europe with 28.5 victories in World War II, plus further 6.5 in Korea. Flying P47s with the 56th Fighter Group, his illustrious career in Europe came to a spectacular end, when, strafing an airfield his aircraft touched the ground. He crash landed and was taken prisoner. The story of this American hero from Oil City, Pennsylvania begins in 1942. Gabreski dropped out of his pre-med studies at the University of Notre Dame to become a flyer. Anxious to get into action quickly Francis Gabreski got himself assigned to the 3-1-5 Polish fighter squadron of the RAF in 1942. Although Gabreski flew many combat missions with the Polish fighter squadron he attained no victories. In February of 1943 he was reassigned to the U.S. Army's Eighth Air Force. On August 24, 1943 he got his first victory (a Focke-Wulf 190) over France. Flying the P-47 Thunderbolt or "Jug", Gabreski continued to achieve victory after victory. He was officially credited with 28 confirmed aerial victories, and that excludes the scores of aircraft, tanks, and other vehicles destroyed by Gabreski during ground attack missions. For many weeks leading up to and following D-Day in June of 1944 Gabby had been on numerous missions involving the dive bombing and strafing of German trains, bridges, armored convoys, and gun emplacements. On July 20,1944 Gabby was scheduled to depart for a much-deserved leave, during which he planned to marry his girl, Kay Lochran. Shortly before his scheduled departure Gabreski was given the opportunity of leading the 61st Squadron of the 56th Fighter Group on an important mission. This was a challenge this ace could not resist. Near Cologne, Gabby spotted an airdrome and began a high-speed low-level attack. Defying his own axiom to "hit them hard, hit them fast, hit them low, but never come around for a second pass," Gabby made an ill-fated second pass over the field. On this second pass his propeller hit the tarmac, and Gabreski was forced to make a crash landing in a wheat field adjacent to the German airfield. For five days he was able to elude the German army, but he was finally captured and sent to Stalag Luft 1 in Barth Germany. In 1945 with the end of the War Gabby was released and he married Kay Cochran on June 11. Not long after the Korean War broke out, Gabby found himself in command of the 51st Fighter Wing, where he flew the F-86 Sabre jet. In Korea Gabreski attained 6.5 more confirmed aerial victories in engagements with Migs, earning the unique distinction of ace status in two different wars. Following his retirement from military service in 1967, Gabby worked for several years for Grumman Aircraft on Long Island. Later he was to become the President and General Manager of the Long Island Railroad. Two of his nine children are Air Force Academy graduates and pilots with the U.S. Air Force. At the time of his retirement from military service in 1967 Gabby is believed to have flown more combat missions than any other American fighter pilot. Gabreski lived in Long Island New York where the American flag proudly flew each day atop the Gabreski family flagpole. Colonel Francis "Gabby" Gabreski passed away on January 31,2002.|
Colonel Robert Baldwin (deceased)
*Signature Value : £35
|Robert Baldwin was born on October 19, 1917, in Los Angeles, California. He entered the Aviation Cadet Program of the U.S. Army Air Corps on September 28th, 1939, and was commissioned a 2d Lt and awarded his pilot wings at Kelly Field, Texas, on June 22, 1940. Bob Baldwin took part in 75 combat missions in World War II flying P-38s and P-40s in Europe between 1943-45. After the second World War Col Robert Baldwin in 1948 served as a military observer in Palestine, and then served as Assistant Deputy for Maintenance and Chief of Flight Operations with Headquarters Oklahoma City Air Material Area at Tinker AFB, Oklahoma, from December 1948 to July 1949. He attended Air Command & Staff College at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, from July to December 1949, and then served as Commander of the 56th Maintenance and Support Group at Selfridge Air Force Base, Michigan, from December 1949 to March 1950. Col Baldwin was Deputy for Operations of the 56th Fighter-Interceptor Wing at Selfridge from March 1950 to June 1951, and then served on the staff of Headquarters Air Defense Command at Ent AFB, Colorado, from June 1951 to February 1953. Robert Baldwin joined the 51st Fighter-Interceptor Wing in Korea and was promoted to Commander after 3 missions. He flew a total of 85 combat missions, and has 800 hours on the F-86 achieving 5 arial victories plus 3 damaged in the Korean conflict. He was Base Commander of Kisarazu AB, Japan, from September 1953 to June 1955, followed by service as Commander of the 4750th Air Defense Group at Vincent AFB, Arizona, from June 1955 to November 1958. Col Baldwin next served with Headquarters U.S. Air Force in the Pentagon from November 1958 to June 1962, and then served on the staff of Headquarters Allied Air Forces Southern Europe from June 1962 to July 1965. His final assignment was as Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans with Headquarters Air Training Command at Randolph AFB, Texas, from July 1965 He flew many other jet fighters of the era and retired from the Service in June 1966. Robert Baldwin passed away on April 7th, 1994.|
Lieutenant Colonel Edwin Heller
*Signature Value : £40
|Ed Heller joined the Service in 1942 and during World War II flew both the P-51 and P-47 in the European Theater with the 352nd Fighter Group, becoming an Ace with 5 1/2 victories. Flying F-86s with the 51st Fighter-Interceptor Wing in Korea he scored a further 3 1/2 victories before being shot down, resulting in two and a half years as a prisoner of war of the Chinese.|
Major General Frederick Blesse (deceased)
*Signature Value : £40
|Major General Frederick C. "Boots" Blesse, born in 1921 in Colón, Panama Canal Zone, graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1945. His first combat missions in Korea were flown in the P-51 where he completed 67 missions in the Mustang. This was followed by 35 missions flying the F-80 and 121 missions in the F-86. In all he flew 233 combat missions in the Korean conflict achieving 10 aerial victories making him the current leading Ace from that war. He later flew 157 missions in the F-4 in Vietnam. He retired from the USAF in 1975, with more than 6,500 flying hours in fighter-type aircraft and more than 650 hours combat time to his credit. Sadly, Frederick Boots Blesse passed away on 1st November 2012.|
|The Aircraft :|
|Sabre||The North American Aviation F-86 Sabre was a transonic jet Fighter. The F-86 Sabre is best known for its role during the Korean War role where it was pitted against the Soviet MIG 15. With speeds often nudging the sound barrier, and performing combat manoeuvres at 600 m.p.h. imposing crushing G-forces, the F-86 pilots ran up a spectacular kill ratio of 8:1 against the MiGs. Although developed in the late 1940s and outdated by the end of the 1950s, the Sabre proved adaptable and continued as a front line fighter in air forces until the last active front line examples were retired by the Bolivian Air Force in 1994. More than 7,800 Sabres aircraft were built between 1949 and 1956, in the United States, Japan and Italy. It was by far the most-produced Western jet fighter, with total production of all variants at 9,860 units.|
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 Airframes database for : Hampden P4299 :|
|Squadron Leader Stanislav Jozefiak added to aircrew database :|
Escaping Poland in 1939, and already a pilot, Stan completed 2 full tours on Wellingtons with 304 Sqn, Bomber Command. After a period of training he returned to action flying Spitfires with 317 Sqn, part of the 2nd TAF. After the war Stan was to fly Dakotas for the CIA.
|JGr126 added to the squadrons database.|
|Sergeant Robert Freeland added to aircrew database :|
Killed aged 22 on 4th July 1943 when his Stirling BK718 WP-M of No.90 Sqn was shot down and crashed near Cologne. He is buried in Overloon War Cemetery. Son of John and Marion Freeland, of Hamilton, Lanarkshire.
|Updates made to Aircrew database for : G. Chadd :|
|Updates made to Airframes database for : Whitley P4974 : Airframe notes updated (added 11-02-1941 : Whitley was ordered to divert course but misunderstood order and subsequently ran out of fuel, successfully abandoned. )|
|Updates made to Airframes database for : Spitfire X4318 : Squadrons updated (added No.41 Sqn RAF)|
|Updates made to Airframes database for : Hampden AD734 : Airframe notes updated (added 11-02-1941 : Hampden was abandoned after flying into a balloon cable over Birmingham. It's believed that the Hampden was set onto auto-pilot following the collision, and eventually crashed into the Irish sea.)|
|Updates made to Aircrew database for : Clarke :|
|Updates made to Airframes database for : Whitley P4981 : Airframe notes updated (added 11-02-1941 : Whitley was ordered to divert to Dres but encountered bad weather and the Whitley was abandoned near Grimethrope in Yorkshire.)|
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