1/Lt. Joseph M. Fluty
(The Fluty Family)
1/Lt. Joseph M. Fluty
343rd FS - 15 March 1943 - 08 March 1944 (Killed in Action)
P-38H 42-67032 (NAM)
|Notes||Entered service from Visalia, California.
Known as 'Mack'
ASN - O-740152
15 March 1943 - Joined the 343rd Fighter Squadron
December 1943 - Awarded the Air Medal
January 1944 - Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross
December 1943 - Promoted from 2nd Lieutenant to 1st Lieutenant
February 1944 - Awarded Oak Leaf Cluster
08 March 1944 - Crashed near Dovercourt (Harwich SW) in P-38J CY- 42-67751
1/Lt. Fluty was on single engine and being escorted back to England by another P-38 from a combat mission. They were flying over an overcast and the other P-38 took him down through but he was seen to go back up into it. An English farmer reported a P-38 coming out of the overcast going straight down and crashing.
Lt. Fluty had been previously decorated with the Distinguished Flying Cross for gallantry, for single handedly driving off three enemy fighters that were attacking a lone American bomber.
He is buried at Visalia District Cemetery, Visalia, California.
|Memories||Ralph Wild's eye-witness account of Lt. Fluty's crash
On this day 8th March 1944, I was 9, living in Dovercourt. In the late afternoon we heard low flying aircraft approaching. I remember seeing three planes flying at about 500 ft, then they disappeared behind the high fir trees of the cemetery opposite our row of houses. Seconds later there was a tremendous explosion in the field beyond the cemetery. We all rushed down through the lane beside the cemetery and down the hill. Burning wreckage met our eyes. My worst memory was the smell of burning rubber and the cannon shells scattered about (which we as small boys collected with gusto! No thought then of the tragedy).
I never forgot this incident and when I returned to England on leave from East Africa - where I was living - in 1959, I remembered exactly where the site was, and would have loved to have had it excavated, but my leave was too short. In the early 1970's I went to see the farmer in whose field the plane had crashed, and he showed me photos of a local archaeological team who had dug up the plane. I understand there is a museum in Bury St. Edmunds which has the main wreckage, and The Redoubt in Harwich has photographs of the excavation, and some wreckage. Incidentally, when we visited the wreckage the day after the crash, a USAAF jeep drove over the fields to the wreckage.
When I spoke to a member of the recovery team, they found maps still in their cases, and chewing gum in perfect condition, even after all those years.
Reproduced here with the kind permission of Ralph Wild
'....very likeable. We did not live in the same hut and not assigned to the same flight, but flew with him sometimes. Like one of the missions to Bremen, Germany and he had to feather one engine and we were flying above 30000 feet. He called and said he was returning to base and the flight commander told Lt Porter and I to escort him home. He had a running start on us and was using military power on the good engine along with a slight descent and had built up a good airspeed. Limiting indicated airspeed at 30000 was 290 MPH so it took awhile to catch up with him so he knew the P-38 pretty well and was getting the most out of it.' (Frank Birtciel - Aug 2005)
'Berlin' - Dave Fluty's account
of his Great Uncle's last few missions
Photo from the 55th FG Newsletter.
Alex Jay's painting of Lt. Fluty returning on one engine in his P-38J (D. Fluty)
Photo of Lt. Fluty's plaque in the Mausoleum in Visalia District Cemetery, Visalia, California. (D. Fluty)
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