Fairbanks David C., Squadron Leader (DFC**)

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David "Foob" Fairbanks was born on 1923 in USA. When finished his education at High School, he ran away from home to Canada and tried to join the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). He finally succeeded to enlist at Hamilton in February 1941. After training he was posted as a flight instructor to the No 13 SFTS. After a year he managed to be posted in the UK, after advanced and operational training. He joined 501 Squadron at Hawkinge flying Spitfire Vs.

His first victory was a Bf 109 on 8 June 1944, near Le Havre. When 501 Squadron re-equipped to Tempest Fairbanks was posted to 274 Squadron and Tempest. Before the squadron moved to Europe, Fairbanks destroyed two V-1 Flying Bombs. During the next two and a half months he scored 11 1/2 victories!

He was posted to No 3 Squadron in the late December 1944. On 9 February 1945 Fairbanks was posted back to 274 Squadron as a Squadron Leader. "Foob" Fairbanks, the "terror of Rheine" is to return to us, enthused the Squadron diarist!

Two days after he was back he downed a enemy plane, which he identified as a Me 262. Luftwaffe records shows that it was in fact an Arado Ar234B jet reconnaissance bomber. This was the first one destroyed by Allied forces. 28 February after train busting, Fairbanks led his six Tempests into attack of 40 Fw 190s and Bf 109s.

After a hard fight he was finally shoot down by a Fw 190 and was immediately captured and spent the rest of the war as PoW. During his time as PoW he was awarded a bar to his DFC and the second one just after the war. After the war while working for Sperry Gyroscopes he flew Vampires and T-33s with the RCAF Auxiliary. He spent two years in UK flying Meteors. In 1955 he became a test pilot at de Havilland Canada.

At the early age of 52, "the Terror of Rheine" died a natural death.

 

 

 

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JJ-F (EJ762) was first flown by David Fairbanks on October 17 1944. On November 19 it was badly damaged by flak, and after repair it was flown by Fairbanks just once more. On December 17 he claimed two Bf109s and one damaged during the sortie.

 

fairbanks-3 19 November 1944 Fairbanks' Tempest was hit by ground fire in the leading edge of the port wing. The fuel tank was sett on fire and the flames burned the fuselage and the tail surfaces. But he was able to return to Volkel and land safely. He was awarded a DFC. The plane was JJ-F (EJ762).

 

Fairbanks' victories in Tempest

 

Date of Claim

Type Claimed

Aircraft Serial No.

Location of Claim

Unit

17 December 1944

2 Bf 109

JJ-F (EJ762)

Burgstein & Dingen

274 Sqn

4 January 1945

Fw 190

(EJ777)

NE Hengelo

3 Sqn

14 January 1945

Fw 190

(EJ690)

SW Gütersloh

3 Sqn

14 January 1945

Bf 109

(EJ690)

SW Paderborn

3 Sqn

23 January 1945

1/2 Ju 52

   

3 Sqn

11 February 1945

Me 262

(NV645)

Rheine Airfield

274 Sqn

16 February 1945

2 Bf 109

(NV645)

NE Hildesheim

274 Sqn

22 February 1945

2 Fw 190D-9

(EJ648)

Rheine Airfield

274 Sqn

24 February 1945

Fw 190

(NV943)

Plantlunne

274 Sqn

 

 

 

 

Images from:
Air Enthusiast/Forty-Eight
The Typhoon & Tempest Story (Chris Thomas & Christopher Shores)
Colour plate:
Graham Berry
Text sources:
Typhoon and Tempest Aces of World War 2 (Chris Thomas)
The Typhoon & Tempest Story (Chris Thomas & Christopher Shores)