Alexander, Richard Lear, Capt

Deceased
 
 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Captain
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
M 1055-Pilot, Single-Engine Fighter
Last AFSC Group
USAAF
Primary Unit
1945-1947, 60th Fighter Squadron - Fighting Crows
Service Years
1940 - 1948
Captain

 Last Photo   Personal Details 


Home State
Illinois
Illinois
Year of Birth
1914
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SSgt Robert Bruce McClelland, Jr. to remember Alexander, Richard Lear, Capt.

If you knew or served with this Airman and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
 
Contact Info
Home Town
Grant Park, Illinois
Last Address
Piper City, Illinois

Date of Passing
Apr 19, 1993
 
Location of Interment
Brendon Cemetery - Piper City, Illinois
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 




 Unofficial Badges 

Air Ace




 Additional Information

Last Known Activity

Richard Lear Alexander was born in Grant Park, Illinois on July 22, 1914. Not much has been discovered concerning his early education, but in October, 1940, he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force.

He took pilot training and was certified as a pilot, given his wings, and commissioned as Lieutenant by September 1941. He went to England and joined the newly-formed RAF 133 Squadron, known as "The Eagle Squadron" because of the number of Americans in it. He flew a Supermarine Spitfire from RAF base Kingscliffe on bomber escort, fighter sweep, and home defense missions, receiving credit for one aerial victory and one "probable."

On September 23, 1942, Alexander transferred to the U.S. Army Air Forces and was assigned to the 4th Fighter Group. In January 1943, he was posted briefly to the 109th Observation Squadron, a reconnaissance unit.

April 1943 saw him assigned to the 2nd Fighter Squadron of the 52nd Fighter Group, flying P-39s. He led a flight of P-39s from England to North Africa, encountering trouble on the way. Weather and bad engines forced the unit down in Spain where they were interned for two months. Leaving Spain, the unit finally reported to Algeria in North Africa. Because of the many Americans still within the unit that had transferred, it was humorously nicknamed "The American Beagle Squadron." Alexander had somewhere picked up the personal nickname of "Dixie." This unit of the 52nd Fighter Group flew Spitfires and P-39s on strike and escort missions over North Africa, changing to P-51 aircraft in early 1944. With this, and extending strikes into Germany, Alexander was credited with an additional four victories. In November 1943, the 52nd Fighter Group moved to Piagiolino, Italy.

In May, 1944, he was shot down on a long range mission, and captured by the Germans, He was held as a POW in the Stalag Luft III, the infamous German POW camp featured in the film "The Great Escape." He was liberated at war's end in May of 1945.

He remained with the USAAF in Germany on Occupation duty with the 60th Fighter Squadron of the 33rd Fighter Wing. In 1947, he lost his right arm in an accident (type unspecified) in 1947 and was medically retired in 1948.

wp.scn.ru/en/ww2/F/52/3/3
www.wartimememories.co.uk
Veterantributes.org
USSAF Aircraft inventory records

  

Other Comments:

When flying for the RAF, Alexander utilized two Spitfires, both named "Chappie." Tail number BL722 coded MD-B and tail number BL723 coded MD-M.

When he transitioned into P-51s, he was assigned P-51B #43-24816, named "Chappie" and "Dixie MK X. This was the aircraft in which he was shot down. Missing Air Crew Report 5636 applies.

In addition to the U.S. awards and decorations, Captain Richard L. Alexander was entitled to wear ribbons denoting the award of Canadian Service Volunteer Service Medal, 1939-1945 Star (British),  the Mentioned in Despatches Medal (British) and another which has not been identified to date.

Service photo source:
www.veterantributes.org

   
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World War II/European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Air Offensive, Europe Campaign (1942-44)
Start Year
1942
End Year
1944

Description
(Air Offensive, Europe Campaign 4 July 1942 to 5 June 1944) Pre-war doctrine had held that waves of bombers hitting enemy cities would cause mass panic and the rapid collapse of the enemy. As a result, the Royal Air Force had built up a large strategic bomber force. By way of contrast, Nazi German air force doctrine was almost totally dedicated to supporting the army. Therefore, German bombers were smaller than their British equivalents, and Germany never developed a fully successful four engined heavy bomber equivalent to the Lancaster or B-17, with only the similarly sized Heinkel He 177 placed into production and made operational for such duties with the Luftwaffe in the later war years.

The main concentration of German raids on British cities was from September 7, 1940 until May 10, 1941 in the most famous air battle of all time, known as the Battle of Britain. Facing odds of four against one the RAF held off the mighty Luftwaffe forcing Hermann Wilhelm Göring to withdraw his forces and more importantly indefinitely postpone invasion plans. This proved the first major turning point of the War. After that most of the strength of the Luftwaffe was diverted to the war against the Soviet Union leaving German cities vulnerable to British and later American air bombings. As a result of the victory, Great Britain was used by U.S and other Allied forces as a base from which to begin the D-Day landings in June 1944 and the liberation of Nazi-occupied Western Europe. 

From 1942 onwards, the efforts of Bomber Command were supplemented by the Eighth Air Force of the United States Army Air Forces, U.S. Army Air Forces units being deployed to England to join the assault on mainland Europe on July 4, 1942. Bomber Command raided by night and the US forces by day. 
   
My Participation in This Battle or Operation
From Year
1942
To Year
1942
 
Last Updated:
Feb 24, 2016
   
Personal Memories
   
Units Participated in Operation

762nd Bombardment Squadron, Heavy

 
My Photos From This Battle or Operation
No Available Photos

  238 Also There at This Battle:
  • Dillon, Leviticus Grandfield, SMSgt, (1941-1962)
  • Hensley, Henry, MSgt, (1942-1946)
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