James Harry Lacey

James Harry Lacey

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James Harry Lacey

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Squadron Leader James Harry "Ginger" Lacey DFM & Bar (1 February 1917 in Wetherby, near Leeds, Yorkshire, England – 30 May 1989) was one of the top scoring Royal Air Force fighter pilots of the Second World War and was the second highest scoring British RAF fighter pilot of the Battle of Britain, behind P/O Eric Lock of No. 41 Squadron RAF. Lacey was credited with 28 enemy aircraft destroyed, five probables and nine damaged.

Early years

Lacey left King James Grammar School, Knaresborough in 1933. After four years as an apprentice pharmacist, he joined the RAFVR (Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve) in January 1937 as a trainee pilot at Perth, Scotland. In 1938, he then took an instructor's course, becoming an instructor at the Yorkshire Flying School. Called up at the outbreak of war, he joined No. 501 Squadron RAF.

Second World War

Battle of France

On 10 May 1940, the Squadron moved to B├ętheniville in France where Lacey experienced his first combat. On 13 May over Sedan, he destroyed a Heinkel He 111 and a Messerschmitt Bf 109 followed by a Messerschmitt Bf 110 in the afternoon. He claimed two more He 111s on 27 May, before the squadron was withdrawn to England on 19 June, having claimed nearly 60 victories. On 9 June, he crash landed and was almost drowned in a swamp. During his operational duties in France, he was awarded the French Croix de guerre.

Battle of......

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