Eagle Squadron Memorial (RAF Kirton)
Inside a set of railings along with the main village war memorial.Monument
Polished black granite with gold lettering, about 4 feet tall
The memorial remembers 10 Eagle Squadron pilots killed while flying from the Royal Air Force (RAF) Kirton airbase. The Eagle Squadrons consisted of Americans who flew with the RAF in WW2.
From the Royal Observer Corps Website:
At the start of World War Two, in November 1940, 244 American pilots crossed the Atlantic to volunteer as fighter pilots with the RAF and the RCAF. At that time the United States of America was a neutral country, and these men faced the possibility of losing their US Citizenship for taking part in a foreign war.
They were welcomed here by the RAF and flew together in three units that became known as "The Eagle Squadrons". These were 71, 121, and 133 Squadrons. Based at RAF Kirton in Lindsey, Lincolnshire where they gave a good account of themselves. Ten of these brave defiant young men lost their lives, fighting for freedom, in 1941 and 1942. Following America's entry into the War, the Eagle Squadrons were transferred, on the 29th of September 1942, to the US Air Force, and became the 334th, 3335th, and 336th Fighter squadrons. (These Eagle Squadrons still exist to this day, flying F18's out of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina).
The sacrifice, of these ten American airmen, has never been recorded on any war memorial until now, some 70 (2012) years later, when a unique headstone was dedicated, close to the War Memorial in the Lincolnshire village where they served.
Approximately 250 Americans served with the eagle squadrons; 78 were killed while serving the RAF and 16 were taken prisoners of war.
Orbison, Laughlin, and Whedon are buried at the nearby CWGC Kirton in Lindsey Cemetery.
See also this website Eagle Squadron Memorial at Grosvenor Square for more on this unique group of pilots.
The text on the monument is written in English and reads:
(Royal Air Force Emblem)
THE EAGLE SQUADRONS OF KIRTON IN LINDSEY
NOVEMBER 1940 MAY 1942
IN TRIBUTE TO THOSE AMERICANS WHO FLEW FOR OUR FREEDOM
(Emblem of the 71sT Squadron)
PHILIP HOWARD LECHRONE 5 MAY 1941
EDWIN EZELL ORBISON 9 FEBRUARY 1941
VERNON CHARLES KEOGH 15 FEBRUARY 1941
(Emblem of the 121st Squadron)
LORAN LEE LAUGHLIN 21 JUNE 1941
EARL WALLACE MASON 15 SEPTEMBER 1941
RICHARD FULLER PATTERSON 7 DECEMBER 1941
KENNETH LE ROY HOLDER 12 DECEMBER 1941
(Emblem of the 133rd Squadron)
HUGH CARD BROWN 16 MARCH 1942
SAMUEL FISK WHEDON 3 APRIL 1942
WALTER CHARLES WICKER 27 APRIL 1942
121st Eagle Squadron
133rd Eagle Squadron
73rd RAF Squadron
Eagle Squadron (RAF)
Royal Air Force (RAF)
Battle of Britain
Other images :