On June 18 the Bottisham Airfield Museum unveiled its freshly restored North American P-51D fibreglass replica, which previously hung from the ceiling in the American Air Museum at Duxford.
Jason Webb, chairman of trustees at the museum, said, “We’ve restored it, and done a lot of work to upgrade it. We’ve added an undercarriage, improved the canopy and scale look of it, and changed the colour scheme.”
Project leader Graham Buchanan and his team have finished the fighter in the markings of a Mustang flown by the 361st Fighter Group commander at Bottisham, Col Jack Christian, who was killed at the age of 28 on 12 August 1944 during an attack on the railway station at Boisleux-au-Mont, near Arras in France. Christian had flown more than 70 missions, and been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters and the Purple Heart.
The replica has an exact rendition of the Lou IV nose art on the port cowling, named after Christian’s daughter, Lou Ellen, who was born in Dallas during January 1944 and who, sadly, Jack Christian never saw. The starboard cowling carried the name Atheline, thought to be the name of the wife or girlfriend of the crew chief, SSgt D. Jameson.