James F. Hinchey, 351st Fighter Squadron

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.

Lt. James F. Hinchey, 351st Fighter Squadron, 353rd Fighter group receives his Air Medal from Col. Ben Rimerman, Raydon, December 30, 1944.

Lt James F. Hinchey and P-47

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.

YJ-I (a/c 44-14728) when flown by Lt L. Blaine Highfield.

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1 Comment

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One response to “James F. Hinchey, 351st Fighter Squadron

  1. Steve Hinchey

    Thanks both for posting that picture, and for your kind thoughts. My dad was a great guy, and it’s been interesting throughout the years learning more and more of those days at war. It’s hard to believe what all of these guys went through, and accomplished, at such a young age.

    Always remember that people in the 353rd and my dad, are forever remembered and cherished for in no small part, saving the world as we now know it. My dad had an accomplished career, and left his mark wherever he went.

    Again, thanks for the kind words.

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