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BoB: Ginger Lacey

Discussion in 'Air War in Western Europe 1939 - 1945' started by Kai-Petri, Jan 23, 2004.

  1. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    [​IMG]

    James 'Ginger' Lacey

    http://www.jacksonharrison.co.uk/BoB2/Battle_personnel/Profiles/RAF/lacey.htm

    He flew Hurricane's with No 501 Squadron and for shooting down 5 enemy aircraft between May 10 and June 19, 1940, during the Battle for France, James Harry "Ginger" Lacey was awarded Croix de Guerre, and was Mentioned in Dispatches. He was given August 23rd the DFM , November 26th a bar to his D.F.M.He destroyed 18 enemy planes between July the 10th and October the 31st 1940. This was the greatest number attained by an R.A.F. fighter pilot during the Battle of Britain.

    http://www.the-battle-of-britain.co.uk/pilots/La-pilots.htm
     
  2. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    And a big chunk of Merlin engine from 'Ginger's' Hurricane, P2793, is sitting right here on my study floor ! :cool:
     
  3. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    I hope he was awarded the DFC... Was he? :confused:
     
  4. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    As 'Ginger' was 'only' a Sergeant, he was ineligible for a DFC. Instead, he won the much more coveted DFM on August 23, 1940 and then a Bar to his DFM on 26th November, 1940.

    His first DFM was awarded for his action in P2793 on August 15th, during which he destroyed the 'Heinkel which bombed Buckingham Palace' ( the Heinkel's upper gunner shot Lacey down too, which is why that bit of engine is sitting here [​IMG] ). Of course, it wasn't actually the Buckingham Palace bomber, but the papers loved it....

    'Ginger' was a very no-nonsense, unassuming Yorkshireman who wasn't much bothered about being Commissioned as an Officer. My favourite Lacey story ( supposedly quite true ! ) relates to King George VI's 'informal' visit to 501 Squadron.

    The King was escorted by a retinue of RAF 'top brass'. When he asked to meet the pilot who had shot down 'that' Heinkel, the officers had to take the King to the Sergeant's Mess.

    The King - a famously shy man - was introduced to Lacey who, in the awkward silence that followed, asked quite naturally :

    'Would you like a drink ?'

    The senior officers froze in horror - this simply was not the done thing ! The King smiled and said ' Yes please '.

    'Ginger' turned to the barman and said :

    'Two beers, please ! '

    This left the top brass in apoplexy - protocol usually demanded a small glass of sherry at most !

    The King sportingly drained his glass.... :cool:
     
  5. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    Kai didn't post his rank. That's why I messed things.

    I now remember that the DFC as well as the MC and DSO were only awarded to offeciers whilst the DFM and MM were awarded to enlisted men and NCOs. [​IMG]

    Thanks, Martin!
     

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