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The Airmen's Stories - P/O P H Leckrone


Phillip Howard Leckrone was born on 27th November 1912 in Salem, Illinois, USA, the son of William and Lottie Leckrone.

He was educated at Union elementary school and then Salem High School. After leaving he worked for Williams Motor Company and was able to purchase his own aircraft.

Leckrone, known by the nicknames `Uncle Sam` or 'Zeke', flew from Altamont airfield and had a considerable number of flying hours when he trvelled to Canada on 22nd July 1940 to enlist in the RAF. He sailed from Montreal on the 'Duchess of Bedford' and arrived in Liverpool on 10th August 1940.

Following Spitfire conversion training at 7 OTU Hawarden he joined No 616 Squadron at Kenley on the 2nd of September 1940 and was later posted to 71 Squadron at Church Fenton on the 12th of October 1940, to join other American volunteers in the first 'Eagle' squadron.


Above L to R: P/O PH Leckrone, F/Lt. CAT Jones, S/Ldr. M Robinson - 616 Squadron, Fowlmere, September 1940.

Above image courtesy of Joel Diggle.


On 5th January 1941 Leckrone was killed on a formation practice, when his Hurricane V6636 collided with P/O EE Orbison in V6983, Leckrone crashing near Scunthorpe. He was the squadron's first fatality, Orbison managed to get his damaged aircraft back to Kirton.

He is buried in Kirton-in-Lindsey Burial Ground in Lincolnshire.

His home town airport is called Salem-Leckrone in his honour (below).

Leckrone was married to Naomi Leckrone (nee Joines) of Salem.










Above: he is also commemorated on his parents' grave in East Lawn Cemetery, Salem.


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