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Roy William Evans

Military

As a youth, he was raised on a ranch near Santa Rosa, California. When his parents separated, he and his siblings lived with an English couple. While working at the railroad he wanted to be able to serve in defence of his country, so he took up Civilian Military Training. He also managed to earn a pilots' licence and attempted to join the Army Air Corps. He was turned down on the basis that his job was considered vital to the country and exempted him from military service. Roy then contacted the Clayton-Knight Committee, which was recruiting pilots for the RAF. He was accepted and went to Tulsa, Oklahoma, for training.

He earned the rank of Pilot Officer, and was the only one of his class to graduate as a fighter pilot. He then went to England for further training with the RAF at an Operational Training Unit. Again he excelled, and was the only one of his class to be assigned to No. 11 Group in the south of England, where the action was.

The military equipment he received, although it was the best available was unfortunately, well worn from the Battle of Britain - he flew a war-weary Spitfire which not very air worthy.
Roy loved to go on strafing trips, sometimes accompanied by Duane Beeson and sometimes with Frank Smolinski.

With news of the attack on Pearl Harbor, and since he was in an Eagle Squadron, he shortly found himself in the 4th Fighter Group with plenty of action, flying P-47s and later P-51s.
On one occasion Roy was leading an escort mission to Paris where the Group destroyed 17 German aircraft, a record number for one day. Having finished their escort duties and beingmindful of their low fuel situation they headed back toward England. They encountered a bomber group which was very late and unescorted, and about to be attacked by a large formation of German fighters. The Group turned into the Germans in a spread formation and from a long distance, though low on gas, they started firing their guns, knowing full well that the Germans were out of range. This attack caused the Germans to turn and run for home. The bombers then turned and followed the fighters safely back to England. Roy received the Silver Star for this action.

As time went on Roy became an "Ace", on the same mission, incidentally, as his friend Duane Beeson. He became C.O. of the 335th Squadron and attained the rank of Colonel. After his tour of 300 combat hours he applied for, and was allowed an additional 25 hours before his mandatory return to the States.

He was proud of the fact that no German ever put a bullet hole in his plane, but he did, however, have to bail out over the North Sea due to Flak damage. His aircraft AA752 a Spitfire from 4FG/335FS experienced a mechanical failure on a 'Rhubarb' to the French coast and he ditched into the English Channel, but managed to swim ashore near Foulness, Essex and returned to duty. He was a 1Lt at the time.

After Roy's last flight with the 4th, Colonel Blakeslee told him General Anderson wanted to see him. General Anderson thanked him for his outstanding service and introduced him to eight others, all Generals or Colonels, who likewise thanked him. Officially, he ended that tour with three Distinguished Flying Crosses, Purple Heart, and 11 Air Medals in addition to his Silver Star and other awards including the Distinguished Unit Award.

Tiring of the Stateside duty he was soon returned to England as Deputy C.O. of the 359th Fighter Group, becoming acting C.O. until he was hit by Flak in P-51D Mustang 44-14894 'Lucky' 14-2-45, and became a POW. He had the dubious distinction of being the last of 37 Eagle squadron pilots to do so. His imprisonment caused him to go from a weight of 225 pounds to 167 pounds until he was liberated.

Service

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. ...

  • 359th Fighter Group

    359th Fighter Group

    Group
    The 359th Fighter Group flew 346 missions from East Wretham between December 1943 and April 1945. In the main these missions were escorting bombers flying over occupied Europe. The Group, soon after converting from Thunderbolts to Mustangs, were...

  • 335th Fighter Squadron

    335th Fighter Squadron

    Squadron
    The 335th Fighter Squadron was the offspring of No. 121 (Eagle) Squadron RAF. Formed on 21 May 1941, No. 121 was the second of the three Eagle Squadrons composed of American volunteers flying out of England. They were known as the "Chiefs" and were...

  • No. 121 'Eagle' Squadron

    No. 121 'Eagle' Squadron

    Squadron
    'On 14 May 1941, No. 121 was reformed at Kirton-in-Lindsey as the second 'Eagle' Squadron to be manned by American volunteers. Equipped with Hurricanes, it began defensive patrols in October but in November it converted to Spitfires. It moved to North...

  • Headquarters (359th Fighter Group)

Aircraft

  • 44-14894

    P-51 Mustang

  • AA752

    Spitfire
    Supermarine Spifire AA752 Mk Vb, Const #2153 Built at Chattis Hill. ...

  • AD511

    Spitfire
    Supermarine Spitfire AD511 Mk Vb, Built at Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory. ...

  • 41-6206

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    Thunderbolt P-47C-2-RE 41-6206 'WD-H' 335th FS, 4th FG, 8th AF. Later on strength with 551st FTS, 495th FTG, 8th AF. Crashed 1 mile east of Condover, Shropshire, during local aerobatics training flight, Cat 5 damage DBR. Pilot Charles R Griffin KIFA, 2...

  • 42-74686

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    P-47D Thunderbolt 42-74686 Assigned to 335th FS 4th FG 8th AF 9-43, later on strength with 514th FS, 406th FG, 9th AF. Crashed Belly Landing, Ashford/Sta 417, Cat 3 damage Pilot Bernard J Sledznik, 514FS 406FG, 9AF 12-5-44.

  • 42-7863

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    P-47D Thunderbolt 42-7863 assigned 335th FS, 4th FG, 8th AF. Don Blakeslee's assigned A/C. ...

  • 44-14988 'Hubert'

    P-51 Mustang
    P-51D Mustang 44-14988 'Herbert' Assigned to 369th FS, 359th FG, 8th AF, Roy William Evans assigned A/C. 26-11-44 Damaged Bf109 Kassel pilot Roy W Evans. 26-11-44. Destroyed Bf109 Kassel pilot Roy W Evans. ...

  • 42-7879

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    Assigned to 335FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. Transferred 22FS, 36FG, 9AF USAAF.

Missions

  • VIII Fighter Command RHUBARB

    20 November 1942
    2 Spitfires from 4th Fighter Group are despatched on a 'Rhubarb' near the French coast. 1 Spitfire, AA752 with 1Lt Roy W. Evans experiences a mechanical failure and is ditched into the North Sea. Lt. Evans manages to swim ashore near Foulness, Essex.

  • 8AF 830

    14 February 1945

Associated Place

  • Biggin Hill

    Military site : airfield
    An RAF Station with US lodger units. USAAF Spitfires and P-38s were attached to RAF No 11 Group stations in mid-1942 for training; also used for special operations by British and US forces.

  • 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...

  • East Wretham

    Military site : airfield
    East Wretham was not improved to Class A standard. It retained its shorter runways, although eventually pierced-steel planking was laid to make take offs and landings easier for the Thunderbolt, and then Mustang, pilots. Steel matting was also laid to...

Events

Event Location Date
Born Carthage, MO 64836, USA 20 August 1914

Born 20th Aug 1914 in Carthage, Missouri, USA.

Pilot training Tulsa, OK, USA 1941

Went to Tulsa, Oklahoma, for pilot training.

Shipped Overseas May 1941

Overseas to join RAF.

Enlisted England, UK June 1941

Further training with the RAF at an Operational Training Unit.

Assigned 1942

Assigned to 121 [Eagle] Sqn RAF.

Became Ace 22 August 1942 – 26 November 1944

He became an ace while in the 4th FG, shooting down an Hs-126, two Me-109’s, and two Fw-190’s. His sixth kill came while he was deputy commander of the 359th FG flying P-51's, where he downed a Me-109 on 26 Nov 1944.

A/C hit by AA baled out Scheßlitz, Germany 14 February 1945

Hit by flak in P-51D Mustang "Lucky" 44-14894. Bailed out near Schesclitz, Germany. POW, fractured leg. 14-2-45. MACR 12330.

Prisoner of War POW Bad Sulza, Germany 14 February 1945 – 10 April 1945

Prisoner of War held at Stalag 9C, Bad-Sulza, Saxe-Weimar.

Died Victor Valley Hospital, Victorville, CA 92395, USA 1 November 2009

Died 1st Nov 2009, Victor Valley Hospital.

Buried Victor Valley Memorial Park, 15609 11th Street, Victorville, CA 92395, USA 5 November 2009

Buried Victor Valley Memorial Park.

Lived in Santa Rosa, CA, USA

Lived in Santa Rosa, California, USA.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
18 September 2020 00:18:26 decwriter Changes to biography and awards
Sources

NARA files verified Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross with 2 oak leaf clusters, Purple Heart and Air Medal with 10 oak leaf clusters. His Find a Grave information matches NARA data with the exception of the Prisoner of War Medal, which he would have officially requested through government channels.

Date Contributor Update
25 February 2016 12:57:57 Al_Skiff Changes to unit associations and place associations
Sources

Association with individual Eagle squadron.

Date Contributor Update
15 September 2015 12:01:37 Lucy May Changes to highest rank, biography, awards and media associations
Sources

Combined duplicate entries for Roy W Evans into a single entry. This entry now includes information from the following sources:
Ted Damick, VIII Fighter Command pilots list
MACR 12330 / Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database
Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / http://www.4thfightergroupassociation.org/pilots.html

4th FG Association profile: http://www.4thfightergroupassociation.org/uploads/8/2/0/3/8203817/335_ev...

Lee Cunningham 4-Nov-2014. "Losses of the 8th & 9th Air Forces" Stan Bishop & John A. Hey MBE; aircraft details from http://www.littlefriends.co.uk/ Peter Randall; Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) 12330; National Archives Records Administration (NARA) WWII POW Databse;
Lee Cunningham 4-Nov-2014. Connection to 359FG at East Wretham;
Lee Cunningham 29-Nov-2014. Added aircraft connection to 44-14894; added POW event per MACR 12230 and National Archives Records Administration (NARA) WWII POW database.
Lee Cunningham 29-Nov-2014. Edited biography AA752 per "Losses of the 78th & 9th AIr Forces' Stan Bishop & John A. Hey; 44-19894 per MACR 12230.

Date Contributor Update
07 September 2015 15:14:53 Al_Skiff Changes to biography, events, unit associations, place associations and aircraft associations
Sources

AAM DB Duplicates.
MACR 12230

Date Contributor Update
07 September 2015 14:47:11 Al_Skiff Changes to middlename, service number, highest rank, awards, events and place associations
Sources

https://www.fold3.com/image/28679821/
http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/85942-eagle-squa...
http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=44025484

Date Contributor Update
08 March 2015 17:15:57 apollo11 Changes to biography, events and unit associations
Sources

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

Date Contributor Update
04 November 2014 19:46:19 Lee8thbuff Changes to biography and mission associations
Sources

Lee Cunningham 4-Nov-2104. Association with 44-14894. Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) 12330

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:24:40 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / MACR 12330, Losses of the 8th & 9th AFs Vol. One by Bishop and Hey, p. 48

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