I was very sorry to learn that James F. Hinchey passed away June 11, 2012. Hinchey was a pilot with the 351st Fighter Squadron at Raydon from July 1944 until April 19, 1945. We never met, but I did enjoy a correspondence with him regarding his time with the Squadron and he was always very helpful in detailing his experiences. My thoughts to his family at this sad time.
Further to this post James F. Hinchey’s son Bob contacted me (June 29) with some very interesting
further details on his father’s career with the 351st Squadron. Lt Hinchey’s P-51D10-NA YJ-I (a/c 44-14728) was called ‘Thunderbug.’ The aircraft also had a picture of a ‘Shooting Bunny’ on the tail. This was used by Hinchey until his penultimate mission March 2, 1945 – he completed his tour on the mission of the following day. The aircraft was then taken over by his good friend Lt L. Blaine Highfield who renamed the aircraft ‘Persuader,’ but kept the rest of the artwork. Now for the postscript – Highfield flew the aircraft up to Scotland after the war for scrapping, but actually managed to save the two panels of artwork as a souvenir. The years passed and in 2001 Jim Hinchey visited his old wartime friend in Seattle and was presented with the two panels – finally returning them to the original owner. Quite a story about two good friends and it surely has to be unique for 353rd aircraft artwork to have survived. The attached pictures are courtesy of Bob Hinchey.