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12-08-1944 361st FG 375th FS 8th U.S.A.A.F. P-51D 44-13410 Col Christian Location: Arras France
Mission: Arras Marshalling Yards, France. (Dive Bombing)

Date: 12
th August 1944

Unit: No: 361
st Fighter Group, 375th Fighter Squadron, 8th U.S.A.A.F.

Type: Mustang P-51D

Serial: 44-13410 (LOU IV) (4
th aircraft named after Col. Christian’s baby daughter)

Code: E2-C

Location: Arras France

Pilot: Colonel Thomas Jonathan Jackson, JR, Christian


REASON FOR LOSS:


Report by 2
nd Lt. Robert J Bain, pilot in Colonel Christian’s flight.

I was flying position number three of a three ship flight, lead by Colonel Christian. We approached the railway marshalling yard at Arras France, from the north east irection at an altitude of 11,000 feet. We circled the target receiving instructions from Colonel Christian to make the bomb run from south to north, pulling up to the left after bombing. We were then in string formation, my position number two trailing our leader. Colonel Christian executed a half roll and split S, from an altitude of 11,000 feet. I watched his descent to at least 6,000 feet and then made my dive. Pulling out of my dive at 3,000 feet. I banked left and climbed to 6,000 feet and looked for the leader. Number three ship pulled up near to me, but neither he or I could find Colonel Christian. I observed a very good hit in the centre of the railway yard, not caused by number three man or myself and assumed it was the Colonel’s bombs. I repeatedly called our leader over the radio but never received an answer. The attack took place 1505, 12th August 1944.

Shortly before his death Col Christian was photographed in his P-51D Mustang 44-13410 leading a group of four P-51s from the 361st Fighter Group. At the beginning of August 1944 the squadron increased the size of it’s yellow nose band identification colour, to include the whole of the engine cowling, it is therefore believed that these photos were taken just a few days before he was tragically killed in action on the 12th. Below is a selection of photos that were taken that day.


COL CHRISTIAN 361FG P-51D 44-13410 (5)
Col Christian pulls in close to the camera ship to show off the new all yellow cowling, squadron identification.


COL CHRISTIAN 361FG P-51D 44-13410 (6)
Col Christian leads a formation of four 361FG P-51s in the 1st aircraft 44-13410, other aircraft are, 2
nd ,P-51D 44-13926 E2-S,
3rd, P-51D 44-13568 E2-A “SKY BOUNCER”, 4th, a veteran P-51B 42-106811 E2-H.



COL CHRISTIAN 361FG P-51D 44-13410 (7)
In this photo Col Christian’s Mustang 44-13410 is seen with the whole of the top cowling painted in yellow,
adopted by the squadron in August 1944.


COL CHRISTIAN 361FG P-51D 44-13410 (8)
In this photo only Col Christian’s aircraft has the new paint scheme, all other aircraft still carry the pre August 1944 scheme.


Burial Details:


B Route Photos (19)
Unconfirmed, but believed to be buried at Faubourg D'Amiens Cemetery, Arras, Pas d Calais, France.
Researched by David King A.R. Society.


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