Remembering Eagle Squadrons

Two fighting planes of the American Eagle Squadron serving with the Royal Air Force Photo: Press Association

A memorial is going to be unveiled to commemorate Lincolnshire's connections with the United States Air Force.

Before the events of Pearl Harbour the United States of America was a neutral country, but this did not prevent 9,000 Americans joining either the Royal Canadian Air Force or the Royal Air Force in defiance of their government's policies.

Within Fighter Command three unique squadrons were formed, each manned by these Americans but commanded by a Royal Air Force Squadron Leader. These squadrons were 71 Squadron, 21 Squadron and 133 Squadron and they became known as 'The Eagle Squadrons'.

Uniquely all three squadrons were based at one time or another at RAF Kirton in Lindsey, just north of Lincoln.

After Pearl Harbour the Eagle Squadron pilots were no longer an embarrassment to America, but were regarded as highly respected combat experienced pilots.

Subsequently the squadrons were transferred from the Royal Air Force to the American Air Force as the 334th, 335th and 336th Fighter Squadrons, which are still in existence at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina. The date of the transfer was 29th September 1942.

70 years to the day, Saturday 29th September 2012, the town of Kirton in Lindsey will be unveiling a memorial to the Eagle Squadrons at 3.00 pm. USAF representatives from Seymour Johnson AFB will be in attendance.