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"Dover Patrol" & "Blakeslee's Kite"
Blakeslee Double

by Troy White



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Dover Patrol © 32” x 42” and the Profile “Blakeslee’s Kite” © 18” x 32” are both oil on canvas and both depict the same aircraft which was flown by F/L Don Blakeslee of  No 133 Squadron during mid 1942. Don used this Spitfire Mk V EN951 to score two confirmed victories, a probable and three damaged during the intense fighting that took place over France in conjunction with the Raid on Dieppe. The black and white photo shows Blakeslee in the cockpit of a 335 Squadron Spitfire in late 1942 or early 1943 before the 4th FG converted to P-47s. Of note is the amount of paint missing from the canopy frame.


Don Blakeslee is a fascinating man and he had an incredible military career. Except for one Spitfire which had his wife's name on it all of his assigned aircraft were plain with no personal markings or kill marks so you dont see many, if any models of his kites. Don is still alive and livig in Florida but hs wife Leola passed away earlier this year. Here is some biographical information on him: 

After serving two years in the US Army Don Blakeslee joined the RCAF in 1940. Arriving in the UK in May of 1941 he served first with No 401 Squadron where he scored his first victory, shooting down a Bf 109 on 22nd November 1941. He served a short time with 410 and 121 Squadrons before transferring to No 133 Eagle Squadron as flight leader. He led the squadron on all four of the sorties that they flew over the Dieppe beachhead on 19th August 1942. Shortly thereafter he became 133 Squadron’s first American squadron leader. He was subsequently removed from that position after being caught with two women in his quarters after curfew.


By the time that the three American Eagle Squadrons were absorbed into the USAAF on 29th September 1942, Blakeslee had flown 120 Spitfire sweeps and logged 240 combat hours while with the RAF. He had also been awarded the DFC at Buckingham Palace.





After transferring to the AAF the Eagle Squadrons became the 4th Fighter Group and Blakeslee became CO of 335 Squadron. He remained in that capacity until May of 1943 when he became Group Executive Officer, then Operations Officer until taking over the Group in January of 1944. He was sent to the USA after leading the first “Shuttle Mission” to Russia in June-July 1944 but returned to Debden to command the 4th but was grounded just 10 days later after Hub Zemke who had been CO of the rival 56th FG went down over enemy territory while flying a P-38 with the 479th FG.


By the time he flew his last combat mission in November of 1944 Don Blakeslee scored 14.5 air-to-air and 1.5 strafing victories and had flown more combat hours than any other pilot in the USAAF during the Second World War. His decorations include the Distinguished Service Cross with one cluster, the Silver Star with one cluster, the Distinguished Flying Cross with seven clusters, the British Distinguished Service Cross and the Air Medal with six clusters. During Korea he was CO of the 27th Fighter Escort Wing flying F-84-Es and was awarded the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Service Cross, and the Air Medal with four clusters.





I have had a couple of requests that I release “Dover Patrol” as a print since the original has been sold and am considering doing a special edition of 25 or so Canvas Prints if there is enough interest. Anyone interested should contact me at troyfreefly@hotmail.com


Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2005 by Troy White
Page Created 16 December, 2005
Last Updated 15 December, 2005

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