Eagle on the Hunt


This Spitfire Mark IID, XR-D (P7308) was flown by Pilot Officer William R. Dunn, an early American ace, credited with downing five Luftwaffe aircraft between May and August of 1941. Dunn was badly wounded on 27AUG41 in this aircraft, but managed to get himself and his crippled bird back to North Weald. After a period of rehabilitation, he returned to flight with the USAAF, flying a P-47 Thunderbolt with the 53rd Fighter Group.  He would go on to score a further kill during WWII, his sixth in total.

Lt. Colonel Dunn was a trained graphic artist, and painted the cover of Fighter Pilot: The First American Ace of World War II.

Spitfire: The History indicates his damaged aircraft was converted to a Mk Va, went to 133 Squadron, then to 61 OTU (Operational Training Unit) on 7JUL43,  No. 45 MU (Maintenance Unit) on 19 OCT44, then to 9 MU on 5NOV44, and was SOC (struck off charge) NOV44.

Here’s a picture of XR-D taken the day before Dunn’s accident. According to American Eagles, Volume 1: American Volunteer Fighter Pilots in the RAF, 1937-43 by Tony Holmes, after Dunn managed to land XR-D, he never flew with the Eagles again. He continued flying with the USAAF, and the USAF, until his retirement in 1973.