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Albert Freemont Eckert

Military

Albert joined the Royal Canadian Air Force before the USA joined the war and served a fighter pilot.
He served in Britain with several different RAF squadrons:
No. 96 Squadron
No. 131 Squadron (joined in December 1941)
No. 185 Squadron (joined in October 1942)

From 'Spitfires over Malta' by Paul Lovell:
'After training initially in Canada and then in Scotland he joined his first squadron No.96, before being posted to 131 Squadron in December 1941, with them he carried out dangerous fighter sweeps over the channel and in to occupied northern France.'

'In August 1942 during Operation Jubilee, the raid on Dieppe, he had a quarter share in the destruction of a German Dornier bomber. The following month he shot down a Fw 190 into the sea off Selsy Bill, west Sussex. The German aircraft had been one of several that had just bombed and machine-gunned the town of Selsy.'

Albert flew Spitfires from Malta with No. 185 Squadron from October 1942 to March 1943. Later that year he returned to the USA and transferred to the US Army Air Forces and served with the 321 Squadron and then with the 311 Squadron flying P-47 Thunderbolts.

His daughter remembers:
'After Dad transferred to the USAAF he was in the 321st squadron in July 1943, then he transferred to the 311 Squadron in August 1943. I cannot tell from the logbook how long he stayed with that squadron, however, I do see from letters he wrote to my grandmother, that he was sent from the group, stationed in Australia, back to the US in March or April of 1944 because he had a cinder removed from his eye, which left his vision a little off and the doctor would not release him right away to go back to combat flying.'

Read more of Paul Lovell's account here: https://www.facebook.com/Spitfires-Over-Malta-224398990951396/

Service

Aircraft

  • BL317 The Gravesend Shrimp

    Spitfire
    'Gravesend Shrimp', one of over 20 presentation aircraft paid for by the people of the county of Kent.

Missions

  • VIII Fighter Command

    19 August 1942
    31st Fighter Group despatches 123 Spitfires in support of the landings at Dieppe, France. 8 are lost. These are the first operations of VIII Fighter Command units under VIII Fighter Command control. ...

Associated Place

  • Atcham

    Military site : airfield
    Atcham, at some remove from other American Air Force bases in Shropshire, was used by USAAF to train pilots from June 1942, several months before the American Eagle Squadrons were combined to form the 4th Fighter Group. Pilots here were mainly trained...

Events

Event Location Date
Born Wisconsin, USA 27 December 1918
Flew with No. 131 Squadron Atcham, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK December 1941 – October 1942
Flew with No. 185 Squadron Malta October 1942 – March 1943
Lived in Sandpoint, ID, USA 1945

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
26 August 2016 10:29:50 Lucy May Changes to highest rank and awards
Sources

Medals information supplied by Albert's daughter, Gwen. In addition to the American medals listed in the record, Albert was also awarded the British General Service Ribbon and Africa Star.

Date Contributor Update
23 June 2016 12:27:55 Lucy May Changes to events and place associations
Sources

http://www.raf.mod.uk/history/131squadron.cfm
http://www.rafweb.org/Squadrons/Sqn131-135.htm

Date Contributor Update
23 June 2016 12:18:17 Lucy May Changes to biography, unit associations and place associations
Sources

Spitfires over Malta by Paul Lovell - Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Spitfires-Over-Malta-224398990951396/

Date Contributor Update
06 April 2016 01:09:59 Gwen Changes to service number, highest rank, unit associations and mission associations
Sources

Logbook

Date Contributor Update
05 April 2016 12:15:39 Lucy May Created entry with surname, middlename, firstname, nationality, role, biography and events
Sources

Correspondence with Albert's daughter, Gwen.

Also see: https://www.facebook.com/224398990951396/photos/pb.224398990951396.-2207...
And:
http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/showthread.php?14063-P-O-Albert-F-ECKER...

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