Mr. Dinwiddie flew P-47D Thunderbolt in WWII with the 371st Fighter Group. These photos are from negatives and 35mm slides. I find these photos amazing and they really tell a story of how life as a pilot was not as glamorous as the movies would make you think.
Constituted as 371st Fighter Group on 25 May 1943. Activated on 15 Jul 1943. Moved to the European theater during Feb-Mar 1944 and served in combat with Ninth AF from Apr 1944 to May 1945. Began operations, using P-47’s, by making a fighter sweep over France. Flew fighter sweep, dive-bombing, and escort missions prior to the invasion of the Continent. Attacked railroads, trains, vehicles, gun emplacements, and buildings in France during the invasion of 6 Jun 1944. Patrolled beachhead areas and continued assaults against the enemy during the remainder of the Normandy campaign. Participated in the aerial barrage that prepared the way for the Allied breakthrough at St Lo on 25 Jul, and supported the subsequent drive across northern France. Operated in the area of northeastern France and southwestern Germany during the fall and winter of 1944-1945, attacking such targets as storage dumps, trains, rail lines, marshaling yards, buildings, factories, bridges, roads, vehicles, and strong points. Conducted operations that supported Allied ground action in the Battle of the Bulge, Dec 1944-Jan 1945. Launched a series of attacks against vehicles, factories, buildings, railroad cars, tanks, and gun emplacements during the period 15-21 Mar 1945, being awarded a DUC for this six-day action that contributed to the defeat of the enemy in southern Germany. Continued operations until May 1945. Returned to the US, Oct-Nov 1945. Inactivated on 10 Nov 1945.
Office of AIR FORCE History
These images date from 1944 and 1945 and were taken near St Mere Eglise France.