Lance Wade, Desert Spitfire Ace

Spitfire Site

Lance Cleo Wade – American RAF Ace Lance Wade was one of the top US aces fighting within RAF. In early 1941 he volunteered ...

Lance Cleo Wade – American RAF Ace

Lance Wade was one of the top US aces fighting within RAF. In early 1941 he volunteered into American Eagle Squadrons but in fact he never flew with any of them. Instead of that he was posted to Malta and later to North Africa. There he joined 33 Sqn and started his long run of victories. In November 1941 he managed to claim six kills (four individual and two shared) while flying various Hurricanes Mk I. On December 5th 1941 Wade was shot down by Flak while strafing enemy positions in Agadabia. He managed to survive and after a long walk across the lines he was picked by friendly forces.

During summer of 1942 Lance Wade added eight more kills to his total before he finished his first tour and returned to United States.

In January 1943 he joined Spitfire equipped 145 Sqn and at the end of the month he became its CO. During final stage of African campaign Wade scored 8 more kills over Tunisia. Finally he scored two more victories over Italy.

On January 12th 1944 Lance Wade was killed in flying accident when his Auster Mk III hit ground at Foggia A/F.
Totally Lance Wade scored 22 individual and 2 shared victories, all of them within RAF.

Date Time Kill Victim Wade’s aircraft Unit Location
18/11/41 ??:?? 1 CR.42 Hurricane I 33 Sqn El Eng A/F
18/11/41 ??:?? 1 CR.42 Hurricane I 33 Sqn El Eng A/F
22/11/41 afternoon 1 Ju 88 Hurricane I 33 Sqn L.G.125
22/11/41 afternoon 1/2 SM.79 Hurricane I 33 Sqn North Africa
24/11/41 morning 1/2 SM.79 Hurricane I 33 Sqn El Eng A/F
24/11/41 morning 1 CR.42 Hurricane I 33 Sqn El Eng A/F
28/05/42 afternoon 1 Ju 87 Hurricane IIb 33 Sqn over Acroma
28/05/42 afternoon 1 Mc.202 Hurricane IIb 33 Sqn over Acroma
9/06/42 evening 1 Bf 109F Hurricane IIb 33 Sqn Bir Hacheim
5/07/42 ??:?? 1 Bf 109 Hurricane IIc 33 Sqn North Africa
14/07/42 ??:?? 1 Bf 109 Hurricane IIc 33 Sqn North Africa
16/07/42 evening 1 Ju 88 Hurricane IIc 33 Sqn North Africa
2/09/42 17:20-18:30 1 Bf 109 Hurricane IIc 33 Sqn North Africa
11/09/42 08:00-09:00 1 Ju 87B Hurricane IIc 33 Sqn El Alamein line
1/03/43 14:05-15:10 1 Bf 109 Spitfire Vb 145 Sqn near Medenine
22/03/43 15:55-16:30 1 Bf 109 Spitfire Vb 145 Sqn N of Mareth, Z.4723
29/03/43 10:00-11:10 1 Bf 109 Spitfire IX 145 Sqn S of Sfax
29/03/43 10:00-11:10 1 Bf 109 Spitfire IX 145 Sqn S of Sfax
4/04/43 15:10-16:35 1 Bf 109 Spitfire IX 145 Sqn N of Mezzouina, U.13
22/04/43 08:30-09:55 1 Bf 109 Spitfire IX 145 Sqn Tunisia
27/04/43 11:20-12:30 1 Mc.202 Spitfire IX 145 Sqn Soliman area, K.4648
30/04/43 06:40-08:00 1 Bf 109 Spitfire IX 145 Sqn Cape Bon, K.5980
2/10/43 11:35 1 FW 190 Spitfire VIII 145 Sqn Penna Point, Termoli
2/10/43 11:35 1 FW 190 Spitfire VIII 145 Sqn 3-5m W of San Severio

Wade’s Aircraft

During the first stage of his career Lance Wade used flew Hurricanes Mk Is to score his victories: Z4360, V7828 and Z4311. It is not known if he had his assigned plane then. Later Wade flew various Hurricanes IIb and IIc, and at least three of them were used by him more frequently: IIb B?239 (BN239 or BP239), IIc BP186, IIc HL661.

When he joined 145th Sqn he flew a few Spitfire Mk. Vbs, but at least in March of 1943 Spitfire ES252 ZX-E seemed to be his favourable plane. He scored with it 1 Bf 109 damaged on March 8th 1943, 1 Bf 109 probably destroyed on March 21st 1943 and 1 Bf 109 shot down on March 22nd 1943.

Later, when Wade switched to Spitfire IXs, the plane EN186 became his usual mount. He scored two damaged (on April 7th and July 10th) and three confirmed kills (on April 22nd, 27th, 30th) with it.

Finally Wade switched to Spitfire VIII JF472 “J” (“ZX-J”?) and managed to down two and damage three enemy aircraft.

Below you can see Wade’s Spitfire Mk Vb trop ES252 ZX-E. He was shown in this very plane on the wartime film, when he lead 145th squadron on take off.

Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Vb Trop
Sqn Ldr Lance Wade
Mareth Line offensive, Tunisia, March 1943

ES252 carried typical MTO scheme of Dark Earth and Mid Stone upper surfaces with Azure Blue underneath. Codes “ZX-E” were dark blue with white outlines. The spinner was red.

Be the First to Add a Comment!