78092 William Mead Lindsley FISKE, (Of America) 601 Squadron, RAFVR: 17/8/1940, Battle of Britiain

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by CL1, Aug 16, 2012.

  1. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Remembering Today

    Casualty Details | CWGC
    FISKE, WILLIAM MEAD LINDSLEY
    Rank: Pilot Officer
    Trade: Pilot
    Service No: 78092
    Date of Death: 17/08/1940
    Regiment/Service: 601 Sqdn., Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
    Cemetery BOXGROVE (SS. MARY AND BLAISE) CHURCHYARD
    Grave Reference: Sec. F. Grave 2.
    Additional Information: Born in the U.S.A. One of only two Americans who died in the Battle of Britain. On 4th July, 1941 the Secretary of State for Air, Sir Archibald Sinclair, unveiled a Memorial Plaque to Fiske, in the crypt of St. Paul's Cathedral.
     
  2. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    William Meade Lindsley Fiske III (Billy Fiske) 1911-1940

    In the lower portion of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London lies the black marble sarcophagus of Admiral Lord Nelson, hero of Trafalgar. A few steps away, there is a plaque commemorating another hero who also died in battle. The plaque reads: PILOT OFFICER, WILLIAM MEADE LINDSLEY FISKE III, ROYAL AIR FORCE, An American Citizen Who Died That England Might Live.

    Billy Fiske had the distinction of the being the first American killed in WWII. He was born on June 4, 1911 in Brooklyn, NY. His family were investment bankers, so he was afforded the best in education, attending schools in the U.S., France, and eventually in England.

    In 1928, the 16 year-old Fiske led the U.S. Olympic Bobsled Team to victory at St. Moritz. In 1932, Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt watched as Billy Fiske carried the flag for the American team at the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, NY. The American team again won the Gold medal.

    In 1939, England declared war on Germany, so Billy signed on as a pilot with the RAF. He soon distinguished himself as a fighter pilot with the 601 Squadron that was stationed at Tangmere. On August 16, German Stukas attacked the Tangmere Aerodrome. As the battle ended, Fiske’s plane caught fire as he was landing. Billy Fiske died four days later, and he was buried in Boxgrove Cemetery in Sussex, England.

    His story will be told in the upcoming movie, “The Few,” starring Tom Cruise. (Paramount Pictures)
    The Fisk/e Family Association

    Stock Footage - Tablet honoring Pilot William Meade Lindsley is unveiled at St. Paul's Cathedral in London.
     

    Attached Files:

  3. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    This window is a memorial window to William Meade Lindsley Fiske, affectionately known as 'Billy Fiske'. He was a pilot officer of the 601 Squadron, who at the age of only 29 gave his life in the Battle of Britain. A plaque was unveiled in his honour by Sir Archibald Sinclair in 1941, in the crypt of St Paul's Cathedral.

    Billy's story is remarkable in that he was the first American to give his life in The Battle of Britain. He used his connections to voluntarily enlist two years before America became part of the war. He was shot down defending the Tangmere RAF base and died at St Richards's Hospital on 17th August 1940. He is buried at Boxgrove Priory.

    The joining of nations in war remains a topic in today's world, and although these proposed windows are a memorial to Billy, they are by no means devoid of links with today. These stained glass designs represent loyalty and the triumph of friendship, and the linking of two nations through the laying down of a life in brave and committed service. This is the message held within the art.

    Pilot Officer Billy Fiske RAF at Boxgrove Priory
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2021
  4. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    I saw one of 601s Hurricanes lying on it's belly belching smoke on the airfield after coming in for it's final approach, I taxied up to it and got out. There were two ambulance men there. They had got Billy Fiske out of the cockpit. They didn't know how to take off his parachute so I showed them. Billy was burnt about the hands and ankles. I told him, "Don't worry. You'll be alright...."
    Flight Lieutenant Sir Archibald Hope 601 Squadron Tangmere

    (Pilot Officer W.M."Billy" Fiske died the next day of his wounds and because of his American nationality the American Ambassador John Winnat unveiled a memorial plaque to Fiske in the crypt of St Paul's Cathedral London on 4th July 1941)
    August 16th - August 17th 1940


    William Meade Lindsley “Billy” Fiske (1911-1940)...
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