Due to censorship during the war, "The Flying Knights - PHOTO
HISTORY OF THE 9TH FIGHTER SQUADRON" was
privately published for the 9th Fighter Squadron.
Ralph Wandrey, 9FS fighter pilot Captain and ace, stated:
"Will try to answer your queries on the Photo History. Yes, I compiled all the photos
and picked the map and layout for the book, then took the stuff along when I went to
Sydney on leave and arranged to have it published. I was appointed photographic officer
for the 9th from April 1943 to August 1944, and it gave me something to do in my spare
time! When I returned to New Guinea, I collected 3 pounds (Australian) from every man in
the 9th and sent the cash to Angus and Robertson with instructions to mail the books to
the 9th when they were done. I received my orders to go home (from Biak Island), so A.
Datzenko took over and he distributed the book when the 9th was in the Philippines. I had
to guess at the cost, but it was much lower, so each man got 2 copies (except me; they
mailed 1 copy to my home!). As I remember, the photo book was published in July '44, but
did not get to the 9th 'til October or November. E. Johns, 9FS photographer, took some of
the photos with General Wurtsmith's camera. I did not get to preview the book before it
came out; we had to take what the publisher gave us."
Mr. Wandrey provided me with the identifications of most all of the photos
in the book, and many of the snapshots are from his personal album. Also, Clint Palmer, 9FS Communications T/Sgt.,
and Les Nelson, 9FS fighter pilot, assisted in some of the names that were unknown
to Mr. Wandrey. Not all squadron members knew each other's names, as they came and went
according to their tour of duty. Richard C. Kirkland, 9FS fighter pilot and author of
"Tales of a Fighter Pilot", stated he is the 'mystery' artist of the sketches on
pages 42 and 43 of The Flying Knights book.
Not all WWII 9FS members were able to purchase and receive a copy of "The Flying
Knights" since some members returned to the States prior to, as well as those who
arrived after, the initial distribution in the Philippines. Some didn't know it existed.
Several former 9FS members have expressed a desire to see the book, and many others who
have a copy would like to know who their contemporaries were, and so this section is
included to preserve the PHOTO HISTORY OF THE 9TH FIGHTER
SQUADRON with captions as an integral part of this book. I am not
alone in wanting to know the identities and locations. Hopefully those who documented
their copies of the book can contribute something.
To the best of my knowledge with permission and assistance from Ralph
Wandrey, identifications have been added to this collection of 140 photographs within the
book. The Flying Knights book of pictures tells a story, but with the contents
labeled it will have a greater significance to past, present and future members of the 9th Fighter
Squadron, their families, and others with an interest to know who they were
and to remember
them as one of the greatest fighter squadron units in the Pacific Campaign during WWII.
Note: This section is an ongoing project and is subject to amendments reflected
in updates at this website.
Hopefully with the aid of former 9FS members/family, this can be
completed. Please email
me if you can assist or contribute something here.