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Archie Warren Chatterley


Archie Chatterley, born in 1920 in San Francisco, was living in San Diego, California when he joined the Royal Air Force before the entry of the USA in the conflict. He flew in the RAF and was later assigned to the 4th Fighter Group, 334th Squadron on 20 January 1943. He flew a P-47 Thunderbolt named " California or Bust". His tour was not without incidents. His normal combat routine was first interrupted by a mid-air collision on 27 April 1943. He was flying a P-47 in a mock dogfight over Castle Camps with Lt. James Wilkinson. Archie overshot, slicing off Wilkinson's tail. Wilkinson bailed out, but was unconscious, with back injuries when he hit the ground - the injuries kept him in hospital for months. Archie, however, was able to perform a dead-stick landing in his plane Near Newmarket.
Almost a year later, on 6 March 1944 Col. Blakeslee led the Group, flying Mustangs, on a Target Support Mission to Berlin. During this sortie, Archie downed one enemy aircraft and chased off another targeting a B-17. As part of a section of four aircraft in line abreast formation heading for home, Archie had to respond to a call of nature. He was in the midst of using the pilot's relief tube just in time to see tracers pass on each side of him. The section broke and Lt. Godfrey destroyed the intruder. Back at Debden, four machine-gun holes were found in Archie's stabiliser, two in the propellor, a cannon hole in the port aileron and machine-gun holes ripping the underside of the port wing!
Archie's next misfortune occurred on 27 March 1944 on a bomber escort mission to Bordeaux. He had downed an Me-109 and reported 2 sea planes anchored in Lake Biscarosse, just North of Biscarosse in the Landes Department, France. The formation downed on the sea planes. These turned out to be Flak posts, which opened up on the Americans from all around the lake. Archie's Mustang was hit by flak and he reported oil pressure down and signaled he would have to bail out. He was seen to bail out at about 6,000ft.
He landed between Montoncour and Loudun, more than 300km North of Biscarosse and was soon captured. He was sent to Dulag Luft in Oberursel for interrogation and was later interned at Stalag Luft 1 in Barth, Germany. In spite of his misfortunes, Archie had 5.5 enemy aircraft destroyed [4.5 destroyed [Air], 1 destroyed [Ground]. He remained in the Air Force after the war and served in Korea and Vietnam, ending his military career with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.



  • James Wilkinson

    Military | Captain | Pilot
    James Wilkinson served with the 4th Fighter Group and then the 78th Fighter Group, flying missions from England. ...

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Units served with

  • 8th Air Force

    8th Air Force

    Eighth Air Force Bomber Command became the Eighth Air Force on February 1944, it oversaw bombardment of strategic targets in Europe until 1945. ...

  • 4th Fighter Group

    4th Fighter Group

    Some of the pilots of the 4th Fighter Group had seen many hours of combat by the time they joined the 4th Fighter Group as they had volunteered with the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Royal Air Force. The three 'Eagle Squadrons' of RAF Fighter...

  • 334th Fighter Squadron

    334th Fighter Squadron

    The 334th Fighter Squadron was the successor to No. 71 Eagle squadron of the Royal Air Force when the 4th Fighter Group was activated on 12 September 1942. They were based at Debden Field, Essex. The "Fighting Eagles" as they were called, flew...


  • 43-6860

    P-51 Mustang
    Assigned to 334FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. On bomber escort mission to Southern France, Lt Chatterley reported 2 sea planes anchored in Lake Biscarosse, just North of Biscarosse in the Landes Department, France. The formation downed on the sea planes. These...


    P-47 Thunderbolt
    Mid air collision with 41-6416 5 miles North of Castle Camps, pilot Archie W. Chatterley managed to land the damaged A/C. 27th April 43. 41-6146 was abandoned as tail was sliced off, pilot James W. Wilkinson injured when he bailed out but survived. ...


  • 8th Air Force 282 BOMBER ESCORT

    27 March 1944
    A combined force of 960 fighters of types: P-38; P-47 ad P-51 are despatched to provide escort to heavy bombers attacking 11 German airfields and air depots in France. 243 of the 960 are frunished by IX Fighter Command. The P-51 element also attacks...

Associated Place

  • Debden

    Military site : airfield
    RAF Debden, construction of which began in 1935, is perhaps most famous as a Battle of Britain fighter airfield, partly responsible for the defence of London in 1940. In 1942 it was also home to three RAF 'Eagle Squadrons’ of volunteer American pilots...

  • Stalag Luft I

    Other location


Event Location Date
Born 15 October 1920

San Francisco, California

Lived in 1940

San Diego, California

Based 20 October 1941 – 20 January 1943

Assigned to RAF.

Based Debden 20 January 1943 – 27 March 1944

Assigned to 334FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF.

Crashed Castle Camps, Cambridge CB21 4SY, UK 27 April 1943

Mid-air Collision Near Castle Camps with P-47C 41-6416, dead stick landing near Newmarket. 27 April 43.

Promotion Debden, Loughton IG10 3SW, UK 24 June 1943

Promoted to 1st Lieutenant.

E/A Destroyed 29 January 1944

E/A destroyed 29-Jan-44. ETO.

E/A Destroyed 6 March 1944

E/A destroyed 3-Jun-44. ETO.

E/A Destroyed 16 March 1944

E/A destroyed 16-Mar-44. ETO.

E/A Destroyed 18 March 1944

E/A destroyed 18-Mar-44. ETO.

Shared Destroyed 21 March 1944

E/A Shared destroyed 21-Mar-44. ETO.

Promotion Debden, Loughton IG10 3SW, UK 25 March 1944

Promoted to Captain.

Prisoner of War (POW) Barth, Germany 27 March 1944 – May 1945

Bailed out of his P-51 #43-6860 and landed near Moncontour, France. Captured and made a Prisoner of War (POW). Interned at Stalag Luft I, Barth, Germany. NARA WWII POW records : “Returned to Military Control ’11 March 1946’”…

Buried Kaneohe, HI 96744, USA July 1998

Hawaii State Veterans Cemetery, Kaneohe,
Honolulu County, Hawaii

Died Honolulu, HI, USA 13 July 1998


Date Contributor Update
14 March 2020 12:18:18 ED-BB Changes to middlename, nickname, biography, events, unit associations and mission associations

WWII Draft Card
MACR 3439
NARA Captured German Records : Page 3 of KUJ-910 à

Date Contributor Update
01 January 2018 18:13:48 Al_Skiff Changes to events
4th Fighter Group: Debden Eagles By Chris Bucholtz
Tumult in the Clouds By James Goodson

Date Contributor Update
01 January 2018 18:10:17 Al_Skiff Changes to nickname, highest rank, role, biography, awards, events, unit associations and place associations
4th Fighter Group: Debden Eagles By Chris Bucholtz
Tumult in the Clouds By James Goodson

Date Contributor Update
08 April 2015 12:21:35 general ira snapsorter Changes to biography and events

Correction to spelling error.

Date Contributor Update
04 March 2015 20:58:16 apollo11 Changes to highest rank, biography, awards, events and place associations

Personal research & 'Eighty-One Aces of the 4th Fighter Group; by Frank Speer.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:03:55 AAM AAM ingest

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 3439 / MACR 3439, Losses of the 8th and 9th AFs by Bishop and Hey vol 1 p. 108, vol 2 pg 347 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database / Ted Damick, VIII Fighter Command pilots list