P-38 "Lightning" "Happy Jacks Go Buggy"
Artwork and research is by;
Sir Ernie Hamilton Boyette
There are 750 limited edition prints in this series. Print size 12x18"
Limited Edition Prints are signed and numbered by the Artist and by Jack Ilfrey. $75.00
Poster Print $14.95
Captain Jack M. Ilfrey
By Sir Ernie Hamilton Boyette
Milton Ilfrey joined the Army Air Corps and graduated from flying school at Luke
Field Arizona on December 12, 1941 just days after the Japanese attack on
was sent to
in Africa the
majority of the missions the group flew in
a P-38 Lighting named “Texas Terror”, Jack saw combat for the first time on
November 29th with an aerial victory by shooting down a Messerschmitt 110 while
returning from an attack on the German Airdrome at Gabes. The P-38 Jack flew
December 2nd, Jack shot down two Bf 109’s, over Gabes, and became an ace on
December 26th while leading a flight to
March 3, 1943, Jack shot down another Bf 109 which would make a total of six he
would get credit for in
Their squadron was used for dangerous ground strafing missions in support of allied infantry advances. On one mission Jack and his fellow pilots strafed German gun positions that were located in a mountain passage on the road to Sfax. Their success in attacking the German gun batteries led to an allied victory.
flew 72 Combat missions while in
was promoted to Captain and returned to
scored two more aerial victories over Bf 109’s on May 24th while escorting
heavy bombers over
The first aerial victory was precarious because it was a head on attack. While in the head on attack with the 109 Jack fired his four fifty caliber machine guns. Jack couldn't remember if he fired his 20mm cannon or not but he saw that the oncoming enemy fighter was hit and started to wobble a little. As they passed the German plane hit Jacks P-38 tearing off the end of his right wing. Jack was able to keep his Lighting from going into a spin because of the shear size of his airship. The German was not so lucky. The Messerschmitt spun coming apart. A chute was never seen.
June 12th Jack and his squadron successfully dive bombed a bridge that crossed
Jack parachuted behind enemy lines and avoided capture by befriending the French people who helped him escape. Jack was disguised as a deaf mute named Jacques Robert. Jack carried a note that a French woman wrote, explaining that he had been injured and could not speak or hear. She signed it as a doctor. This note saved Jacks life and enabled him to openly travel in daylight.
This is a photo of Jack after he got back to base dressed like a Frenchman.
It took Jack several weeks to return to the allied lines. Jack rode a bicycle most of the way and walked the rest. Along the way he met many German troops. He was even asked to transport a wounded German soldier to a field hospital by pushing him in a wheel borrow, which he did as requested.
Jack witnessed first hand the destruction the Allied aircraft was doing to the towns, cities and the German airdromes. Jack even witness several air attacks while making his way back to the Allied lines.
After reaching the Allied lines his concern was to make sure that he doesn't get shot by American or Allied troops. Once he reached the American troops Jack was well fed and helped back to his unit and airbase. Soon thereafter his unit transitioned to the P-51D Mustangs of which Jack named his, “Happy Jack’s Go Buggy”.
one mission Jack and his flight was doing aerial recon when one of his squadron
mates was shot down. They were also flying low level and shooting things up when
his friends Mustang was hit.
His friend belly landed his Mustang in and got out and waved at Jack as he flew
past. Jack then did something he was not exposed to do. Jack landed his fighter
next to his friend and opened his canopy. With German infantry coming after the
downed pilot Jack was able to get his friend to sit on his lap as he took off
and flew back to base. He did not want his friend to go through what he had gone
through trying not to get captured. Of course if Jacks fighter had been damaged
in landing he could have been stuck behind enemy lines for the second time.
His friend belly landed his Mustang in and got out and waved at Jack as he flew past. Jack then did something he was not exposed to do. Jack landed his fighter next to his friend and opened his canopy. With German infantry coming after the downed pilot Jack was able to get his friend to sit on his lap as he took off and flew back to base. He did not want his friend to go through what he had gone through trying not to get captured. Of course if Jacks fighter had been damaged in landing he could have been stuck behind enemy lines for the second time.
Jack left the service after the war credited with 8 confirmed aerial victories and two damaged. His awards were the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross with 5 Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Air Metal with 13 Oak Leaf Clusters.
The original painting of the print is available.
Painting size: 24x48" $1,600.00.
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All research, writings and artwork are by Sir Ernie Hamilton Boyette.
No one is permitted to republish any part of this story with out my personal permission.
Please call or e-mail me for any use of this story.
I do not mind sharing, just call or e-mail and ask for permission.
Sir Ernie Hamilton Boyette
107 Arthur Moore Drive
Green Cove Springs, Florida 32043
Phone Number; 1-904-406-5791
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