AMERICAN FIGHTER ACE
Signed Special Edition
You are bidding on Special Cut Mount
enclosed with a photograph still of Donald Blakeslee
"American Fighter Ace" , The small lower window of the mount holds
the original sheet of Paper/Card
hand signed by Donald Blakeslee These signed Mounts are extremely RARE and
very collectable . Only a small amount were ever signed
These autographs are very RARE and
very hard to now get your hands on...
They are 12" X 10" Approx
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£10.50 Special Delivery
COA By REQUEST
James Matthew Blakeslee
(September 11, 1917 – September 3, 2008[) was
an officer in the United States Air
Force, whose career began as a pilot in the Royal Canadian Air
Force and flew Spitfire fighter aircraft,
during World War II. He then became a member of the Royal Air Force Eagle squadrons. He flew more combat missions against the
Luftwaffe than any other American fighter pilot.
Blakeslee was born in Fairport Harbor, Ohio on September 11, 1917 and became interested in flying after watching the Cleveland Air Races as a young boy. With money saved from his job with the Diamond AlkaliCompany, he and a friend purchased a Piper J-3 in the mid-1930s, flying it from Willoughby
Field, Ohio. However, his friend crashed the plane in 1940, and Blakeslee
decided the best way to remain flying was to join the RCAF.
After training in Canada, Blakeslee
arrived in England on May 15, 1941, where he was assigned to No. 401 Squadron RCAF.
The squadron was assigned to the Biggin Hill Wing. Flying
sweeps over France, Pilot Officer Blakeslee seems to have first seen
combat on November 18, 1941, when he damaged a Bf-109 near Le Touquet; and he claimed his first kill on November 22,
1941, a Bf-109 destroyed, over Desvres, about 10 miles south of Marck; on the same
mission, he damaged a further Bf-109 whilst returning to base. His next kills
were not claimed until April 28, 1942, two FW-190 probably destroyed. He proved to be not a particularly
good shot, but was receptive to the principles involved in air fighting
tactics, and was soon shown to be a gifted leader, in the air and on the
By the summer of 1942 he was an acting flight lieutenant, and was
awarded the British Distinguished
Flying Cross on August 14, 1942. The citation
Acting Flight Lieutenant Donald James
Mathew BLAKESLEE (Can.J/4551) Royal Canadian Air Force No. 133 (Eagle)
This officer has completed a large
number of sorties over enemy territory. He has destroyed 1, probably destroyed
2 and damaged several more hostile aircraft. He is a fine leader whose keenness
has proved most inspiring.
He then completed his first tour of duty, clocking 200 combat hours with three victories.
Blakeslee had studiously avoided
being part of the American volunteer Eagle Squadrons, claiming "they played sister in making
their claims." But when told he would be assigned to be an instructor
pilot, he finally volunteered to be sent to No. 133 (Eagle) Squadron RAF as its Commanding Officer, which was the only way he could remain on
combat status. During the raid against Dieppe, France on August 18, 1942,
Blakeslee shot down a further FW-190,
and another probably destroyed on the 19th, thus achieving ace status.
On September 12, 1942, the 71, 122, and 133 Squadrons
were "activated" as the USAAF's 4th Fighter Group,
operating from a former RAF field at Debden. After a few months flying Spitfires, the group was
re-equipped with the new Republic P-47
Thunderbolt. On April 15, 1943 Blakeslee claimed an FW-190 for the
group's first P-47 "kill", and claimed a further FW-190 on May 14,
1943, both near Knocke. Leading the 335th Squadron of the 4th FG, Blakeslee flew the group into Germany for the first time
on July 28. Towards the end of the year Blakeslee led the group more often, and
developed a tactic of circling above any air battle and directing his fighters
Blakeslee flew the P-51 Mustang for the first time in
December 1943 and thereafter worked hard to have the 4th FG re-equipped as soon
as possible with the new fighter, pushing hard especially as he now became
Commanding Officer of the 4th on January 1, 1944.The 8th Air Force Command eventually agreed to the request, provided the pilots were operational
on the P-51 within 24 hours of receiving them. Blakeslee agreed, instructing
his pilots to "learn how to fly them on the way to the target".
On March 6, 1944 Blakeslee flew in
the first Mustang over Berlin while defending Boeing B-17s and Consolidated B-24s. Escorting the massed daylight raids
of the 8th Air Force over Occupied Europe while under Blakeslee's command, the
4th FG became one of the highest scoring groups of VIII Fighter Command. The
4th's aggressive style was very effective, and the 4th Fighter Group passed the
500 kill mark at the end of April 1944. At the end of the war, the squadron had
destroyed 1,020 German planes (550 in flight, and 470 on the ground).
The next landmark for Blakeslee was
leading the first "shuttle" mission to Russia on June 21, 1944,
flying 1,470 miles in a mission lasting over 7 hours.
Don Blakeslee was finally grounded in
September 1944, after the loss of several high scoring USAAF aces. He had
accounted for 15.5 kills in the air and 2 more on the ground. He had flown over
500 operational sorties and accumulated 1,000 combat hours. Barrett Tillman, who served as an executive secretary of the American Fighter Aces Association, stated that Blakeslee had
more missions and hours "than any other American fighter pilot of World
War II". Blakeslee retired from the United States Air Force in 1965 with the rank of Colonel. An obituary in The Guardian further described
him as: "the most decorated second world war US Army Air Force fighter