FRANK GLASGOW TINKER Jr.

(1909-1939)

updated 23/08/10

 

First picture shows Frank G. Tinker when he joined the American Navy as young Ensign , the second when he joined the Spanish Republican Air Force

His Centennial Celebration : 14-07-2009 !

 

"They were the last of the knights 

errant of the cavaliers of a new Roncesvalles

They clung to a single touch of chivalry that have been forgotten 

in the welter of treason, butchery and betrayal"

 

Arthur H. Landis

(an American volunteer 

of the International Brigades)

 

One and not the only , of the Americans fought at the side of the Republican Government in Spain in the Civil War 1936-39 , was Frank Glasgow Tinker. He was , however , the first American fighter pilot ever to shoot down a Messerschmit German aircraft and most  probably the only American pilot to be commanded in battle by Russians, then later himself commanding Russians as a flying lieutenant of the Spanish Republic, few days before his contract ended in Spain . 

He was a Southerner from De-Witt , Arkansas. He spent however his youth in Louisiana , which added probably a special flavor to his later character. As a teenager he lived in Little Rock. He joined the American Navy as a reconnaissance pilot on cruisers but his commission was terminated in Pearl Harbor due to insubordination after a fight he had with some MPs. When the Spanish civil war broke out he applied for a transfer to Spain secretly via the Mexican Embassy and arrived to Valencia via France. He joined under an 'alias' name : Francisco Gomez Trejo ; you may  note that the initials correspond to his real name initials F.G.T. The foreign pilots involved in the Spanish civil war were ‘mercenaries’ and were attracted by a high salary and bonus for every enemy plane shot down but most of them were also sympathizers of the republican cause and served with determination and courage. They helped an air force based mainly on volunteers to stand on its feet  as most of the professional pilots had followed Franco while the republican pilots were untrained or ex-students or even common working class people ; there was even a paper-boy (who later became an ace) among them. 

Tinker started training for a bomber pilot in antiquated French aircraft types. He was converted to a fighter pilot flying the Nieuport 52 plane which he found extremely uncomfortable to fly. In February 1937 he joined as a Lieutenant the 1st Squadron 'LaCalle' after the name of its leader , the young Andres Garcia LaCalle , an ace of the Republic with some 7 victories at the time and a total of 21 at the end of the war. This came after a full reorganization of the Republican Air Force equipped with Russian made fighters I-15. Tinker called LaCalle 'The Kid' but admired him ; he wrote on him that '...imagine ...The Kid was able to shoot down some 5 enemy planes flying in a  Nieuport 52..' , a sign of his ability as a flyer . Tinker mostly fights between Madrid and Teruel taking off from  various aerodromes or converted airfields between Barajas and Guadalajara. The most famous of them where he stayed for a longer time was found near Azecueqa de Henares , called at the time as the 'Campo-X' , few kilometers south of Guadalajara. 

 

The American Patrol 

 

One of the teams of the 1st LaCalle comprised American pilots only : Frank Tinker, Harold Evans Dahl,Jim Allison and Charlie Coch and was eventually called the 'American Patrol' by the Spaniards. Coch left early due to health problems, Allison was shot down wounded and stayed away until he was transferred to a bomber group. Tinker and Dahl stayed together for most of the time on the 1st LaCalle until Dahl was shot down and taken prisoner. A replacement that joined the group then was the American-Spanish S.Selles nicknamed 'Chang' because he had stayed long time in Japan. He became a very close friend with Tinker until one day Selles was arrested by the Russian anti-spy police as a japanese agent, disappeared for a long period and then it became known he was executed. Tinker reported that he was constantly keeping notes on many things which he mailed to his sister in Japan while the Russians said he was also very fluent in the Russian language , a secret to all , that enabled him to listen to what was said around him. From Tinker's book it seems that this view was considered rather probable, although it is something that can not be thoroughly checked  . 

 

Tinker while in the LaCalle 1st Group 

 

With the 1st Sq 'LaCalle' 

(1)

(2)

(3)

(4)

(5)

   

These were the American pilots Tinker worked with in Spain :

(1) Charlie Coch : as young pilot when he was to join the Lafayette squadron in WW1 and (2) when he joined the 1st LaCalle to lead the 'American Patrol'. Coch was an aviation veteran of the middle war years that lost his fortune in the economic crisis. 

(3) Jim Allison : He was shot down and wounded and when recovered was sent to a bomber squadron. He later quit Spain and went over to Mexico

(4)  Ben Leider : A professional reporter-journalist and  a Communist Jewish militant, who volunteered without pay to the democratic cause. Fluent in Spanish and the ideological jargon was loved by the Spanish pilots. He served in a different but neighbouring squadron with Tinker and fought heroically. Tinker watched him shot down and killed in a combat they fought together. 

(5) Albert John ,'Ajax', Baumler: A decommissioned US Air Corps cadet , Baumler went to Spain and was sent early to a Russian squadron equipped with I-15. After a reorganisation of the Spanish Air Force and when Tinker left the 1st LaCalle they flew together in the 1st Moscas manned with Russians. They stayed close until the end of the war and actually until Tinker's death; Baumler was most probably the last man to meet him and encouraged him to enlist to the 'Flying Tigers'

 

The planes 

 

 Tinker's Polikarpov  I-15 ('Chato') - No 56, 1st LaCalle squadron

At that time flying with the 'LaCalle' squadron only the number in white was displayed on the fuselage. Later, the words CC (Casa Chato) in white followed by the number in black ,on a larger red fuselage bar. Tinker was mainly flying the 56 and Dahl the 54 

 

Between the 7th and 29th of July 1937 he flew for 191 hours and shot down 8 aircraft . On the 14th he flies his No 56 Polikarpov I-15 biplane and shoots down an Italian Fiat CR-32 biplane over Guadalajara . This is repeated again next day over Brijuega. The victim was the Fl. Sergeant  Micaelangelo Scala. 

The typical Italian fighter in Spain was the Fiat CR-32. Having won a European aerobatics competition  in 1934 became the star of the Italian air force and was bought by a number of countries like Belgium,  Austria, Hungary , Switzerland etc. It proved maneuverable but heavier than the Russian fighters with some vital mechanical parts exposed to enemy fire. Inferior to the expectations of the 1938-39 was succeeded by the CR-42 version that fought the first 2 years of WW2 to be replaced later by the Fiat GR 50bis monoplane. The last CR-32s ended up their career in the early days of the war against Greece - October 1940.

Polikarpov Po R-5 'Razante'

Tupolev Tu SB-2 'Katjusa' 

Most of the missions Tinker flew had as a purpose the protection of these bombers while ground attacking the francist troops surrounding Madrid 

 

 

 

The Heinkel He-51 was the standard German biplane fighter in the years 1932-36. It was the first German type to join Spain, flown by famous aces like Mölders and Gallant . It proved however weak and was soon replaced by the Bf109B and during the WW2 was used in few secondary roles only. The above He-51C (2-10) was flown probably by the Spanish francist ace Angel Salas Lazarrambal on his personal dogfight with Tinker. Tinker praised a lot the German pilots but considered their He-51 and even the Bf109B as inferior machines while he admired the Fiat CR-32. He was saying that the air combat results would have been different if the Germans were flying the Italian planes ! 

 

 

The victories

 

On the 17th Tinker escorts bombers and while flying again with the Chato 56 shoots down a German He-51 biplane that belonged to the Legion Condor. He is executing multiple ground strafing missions against the Italian troops over Guadalajara and enjoys their furious retreat. He had to take off at zero visibility and then fly under constant rain in an extremely humid cockpit all day long receiving eventually the admiration of his squadron leader Andres Lacalle. At a specific fierce air battle against francist pilots in He-51s Tinker, cornered badly their top ace Angel Salas Lazarrambal who just escaped death with a deep dive having received many holes on his plane Tinker took part in many defensive missions against the German bombers attacking Madrid where he had damaged a number of JU-52s  In his book he mentioned very lively the method to attack these JU52s and his personal experiences from few of them going down in flames. But these victories were not confirmed due to some very strict rules demanding eye witnesses of the fallen planes on the ground. The division line between the Republicans and the Francist was however almost within the area of the city and these Ju52, were able to return quickly within their own territory, despite been damaged

 

Tinker describes in his  book  the fighting against the German bombers over Madrid with astonishing details

His commander Andres LaCalle was then moved to higher duties after receiving a promotion. He considered Tinker as the only appropriate pilot to succeed him as squadron leader but he did not speak Spanish well and Tinker was not finally to become the leader of this Group. At a certain moment , though, he was unofficially appointed as squadron leader in flight on the request of the pilots, due to the ineffectiveness of LaCalle's replacement who became the station commander. After a new organization followed , Tinker  is posted to the 1st Squadron of Moscas equipped with the new monoplanes I-16 - named 'Moscas' ( the 'Flies ) for the noise of their engine or 'Rata' ( the Rat ) by the francists for its ability to quickly escape an opponent. This was again another important fighter of those times : the first retractable gear monoplane ever , armed with 4 machine guns. Russians were not entrusting initially their modern planes to other nationalities but it seems they had reasons to respect Tinker who was rather welcomed in this group commanded by a Captain named Lakev - whom Tinker considered however as a non-intelligent guy eventually nicknamed ...'Goofy' by Tinker. Another American pilot named Albert J. Baumler was appointed in the same Russian squadron and from then on Tinker and Baumler were to become very close friends till the end of their Spanish war careers

Tinker's CM-023 Polikarpov I-16 ('Mosca') type 10 when he shot down the first Bf109B. It was, the first time ever an American was shooting down a Messerschmit plane and the first time such a plane was shot down in history

The I-16 Russian monoplane was another 'miracle' of its times. Despite huge difficulties of production and bad working conditions the team of Nikolai Polikarpov achieved the best possible results. It was economic and fast but difficult for beginners to fly. Due to Stalin's persecution of his generals in 1938 the development of these fighter planes was stopped.  By  1941 however the German designers had learned a lot from Spain and their improvements were very rapid. During the invasion to Russia in 1941, the I-16 was thus unable to cope with the Messerschmits and Focke Wulfs and was decimated

 

Boeing F4B

Polikarpov I-15

Far from been unique, the Boeing F4B, was one of the US Navy fighters of the early 30s. Tinker had already flown once with it while in the Navy and was familiar with these type of planes when he was given the I-15 to fly. The Francists reported the I-15 as the American F4B and the US Ambassador had a terrible difficulty to convince them that US was not providing planes to the Republic. Yet, they were powered both by the very same Wright-Cyclone 550 hp engine and the I-15 was a copy from a variety of similar American designs of these days. The I-15 was nevertheless more performant in speed and maneuverability, heavily armed and more rigid in comparison

Polikarpov I-16 

Boeing P-26

The I-16 was registered by the Italians and Francists as the 'Boeing P-26' when met over the Madrilean skies. They were both designs of the 1933-1934 and both revolutionary in that the were the first American and Russian all-metallic monoplane fighters of their time. Few knew that their engines were based on the same prototype, the Wright-Cyclone of the 750 hp. Tinker considered the I-16 as a copy of the P-26 while Dahl  and Baumler had already flown with it 1-2 years before going to Spain. They all admitted, though, that the armament of the I-16 , its 950 hp updated motor and their rigidity made them more suitable for the air combats against the modern German and Italian fighters. The Russians ignored that a similar fighter was already flying in USA. 

 

On the 2nd of June over Segovia again escorting bombers he shoots down in the CM-070 another CR-32 then again another few hours later . On the 12th ( June 1937) his group detects the existence of a new monoplane German fighter . It is a  Bf109B that attacks a lonely I-15 flown by his American colleague Evans 'Whitey' Dahl. Tinker attacks in his CM-023 (CM= Caza Mosca ) until he sees clearly the  Bf109B going down in flames . The first time an American is shooting down a German Messerschmit . Next morning he shoots down a CR-32 over Brunette .

A BF-109B-2 ('Bertha') WNr 6-4 the one shot down by Tinker with the insignia of the Legion Condor 'Top Hat' flown by Uffz. Guido Honess of 2./J88 sq.  This pilot at this moment has scored 3 victories against Russian made bombers and was considered the top German ace in the entire German air force. Eventually he had score 4 - his last one been the I-15 of Evans Dahl. Honess has fallen from 2500 m height down on earth and was killed. Some pieces of this aircraft , however , remain until today in the Legion Condor museum in the city of Leon in Spain. The number (6-4) is displayed at the rear part of the fuselage and the dark insignia circle is large. The 'Top Hat' is black and the whiter parts are of the same color as the rest of the fuselage (aluminum) that covers the entire plane. This type did not use radio. With later versions the colors and position of numbers become different. By 1938-39 the types D and E replaced this version. The Me109E ('Emil') was the main fighter to take part in the Battle of England 

An extremely rare picture of the Bf109B No 6-4

Tinker's victory against the Bf109B , 6-4 (12/6/1937)

 

The standard recreation place for most Americans found in Madrid under siege was the hotel 'Florida'. Tinker and 'Whitey' Dahl have spent some 'happy hours' there meeting often American colleagues and journalists. The first encounter with Ernst Hemingway was a particular one. Dahl heavily drunk was trying to join Tinker in his room but was laying on an elevator's floor unable to stand up. Then an angry person started yelling to him in Spanish. Dahl replied in his English and then the other guy replied in flawless American.  Ever since , Tinker, Dahl, Hemingway , his fiancé (later wife) journalist Martha Gaylhorn , apparently the journalist Henry Gorrel, and the Int. Brigade leaders Robert Hale Merimman and Milton Wolf ( his successor later ) became a solid group. Hemingway has mentioned in his documents a lot of flattering words for all the members in this group who in turn inspired him in his own books. Out of all these persons only Milton Wolf , writer of the book 'Another Hill' , was reported alive until at least 2005 (died in 2006). 

 

In August 1938 Tinker is extremely tired to fly some 4 to 5 sorties a day. The war strain has marked him and he feels uncertain of himself. In his memoirs this fact was eventually 'modified' ; it is written that he was left alone in the Russian squadron where the new pilots that joined could not speak even Spanish. He then asked to terminate his contract but before he leaves he was asked to take over the provisional command of one squadron team of the 1st Moscas Group , which he did for about 20 days. 

He eventually leaves Spain initially to France trying to get an American passport to enter his country. The American counsel indicated to him that he probably deserved some 1000 $ fine and 3 years in prison for having fought in Spain. Even more he was told that there was no way to accept his papers as a proof of his nationality even when he presented his US Navy documents. People in the Embassy insisted that only the presence of a sponsor who would confirm his identity could be accepted. And then Tinker asked Hemingway himself , then in Paris , to help him, which he did. But even when back in his country  he feels he is not really ‘accepted’ as the American government - actually Hoover's FBI - critisised cynically those who fought for the Republicans as 'Pre-mature antifascists !' . When he tries to apply for a job in the US Navy he is rejected and on top of it he is accused that he used his American training in favour of another country ! Tinker feels he is hated personally because he did express openly his support to the Republican cause. His life continues with journalism in USA covering the Civil War in Spain in favor of the Republicans. He is the writer of a book from the Spain memories : 'Some still live'  with excellent descriptions of air combats and live references to those days in Spain and the spirit of people (See pictures below) . 

 

"Some Still Live" , by Frank Tinker, NY 1938 

This rare book has become a unique historic material in our days - I wish we see it published again (Note : in 2009 Amazon.com has announced a reprint !)

 

During those days he feels deeply distressed by the fact that his colleagues still fight desperately in Spain and his is not there to assist them ; he feels as a deserter . When in April 1939 Franco announces his victory he decides to terminate his life few weeks later unable to accept the fact that the 'Big Democracies' of the West left the Spanish Republic helpless and indirectly, and at times very directly, favored Hitler and Mussolini instead . He had just signed a proposal to join the volunteer fighter pilots of the 'Flying Tigers' in China , as his colleague from Spain 'Ajax' Albert Baumler encouraged him to do  [1]. The details of his suicide remained  however inexplicable . His intimate friend writer E. Hemingway [2] was very sad for his loss and dedicated an article on the press for his friend's character . A priest put on his tombstone the following epitaphic expression in Spanish :"Quien Sabe" (Who knows). Some 60 years later  he was recognized as a 'gallant' American fighter for liberty. 

 

Albert John ('Ajax')  Baumler

[1]  Baumler was the closest friend to Tinker on his last days. He will finish the war as Major of USAF considered as the only American pilot to have fought against all enemy countries :  Italy , Germany and Japan.  Baumler flew initially as an American pilot liaised to the Flying Tigers then this unit became the USAF 23rd Group . Baumler ended WW2 as a Major, commanding one squadron in this group, eventually becoming the Group's executive officer. Before retirement he served as a radar controller in Korea when some of his Russian colleagues of his own squadron in Spain were fighting in Migs on the other side . Looking them on the radar he used to laugh bitterly saying : 'These are ...my boys !' 

 

Ernst Hemingway

[2]  "...The key to Tinker's character was his ability to walk on the tightrope 

between's exposure to the brutalization of war and the simple faith of his Arkansas roots 

- a mental and moral equilibrium which allowed him to serve 

both as a paid mercenary and genuine hero of the Republican cause"  

This was an 'epitaph' written by Hemingway on the death of his friend F. Tinker

 

An unexpected and most welcomed contribution came just today (20/9/06) from a relative Ken Gorell of one of the American journalists Henry Tilton Gorrell who was working in Spain and was meeting often Tinker, Hemingway and Ev. Dahl in Hotel FLORIDA :

Henry Tilton Gorrell reporting on Russian planes flown by the American pilots in Republic Spain

 

    Russian airplanes in Spain were also excellent.  Most of them were copies of American military aircraft, but the Russians had improved substantially on fuselage design as testified by the men who flew them, including American volunteer pilots.  There were many Russian regular army pilots in Spain, but they were not allowed to mingle with either Spaniards or members of the International Brigade.  Russian bomber and fighter aerodromes were well guarded and as a general rule no matter how trusted were the volunteer American pilots, they seldom were allowed to fly aircraft other than those the Russian considered out of date.  Although outclassed in numbers, Russian aircraft competed very satisfactorily in Spain against the Luftwaffe and Reggia Aeronautica.  But there came a time when, disheartened because France and England showed no sign of giving the Loyalists material support, the Russians themselves began to pull out.  Soon, because of lack of replacements, Franco attained air superiority which ultimately had much to do with forcing the Republicans to their knees. 

    I knew the American aviators who flew for the Republican air force, including Whitey Dahl, who later was to be taken prisoner by General Franco, and Tinker, former Navy pilot and graduate of the United States Naval Academy.  Tinker became an ace, shooting down more than a dozen German and Italian planes in Spain.  These aviators commanded high salaries and were promised a premium of a thousand dollars for every plane shot down.

Henry Tilton Gorrell reporting on a Tinker's statement upon shooting down a German Bf109B

 

    “It was one of the toughest fights I’ve ever had.  Eventually I got him and followed the plane down until it crash-landed behind our lines.  I was curious as to the identity of the pilot – he had put up quite a fight.  Image my surprise when on inspecting the wreckage of the cockpit I found a dead German wearing shorts and jersey, with rouge on his lips, mascara on his eye-brows and red polish on his finger nails!  I guess looks aren’t everything!  What ever else he may have been, the fellow was a tough customer in the air.”

 

Henry Tilton Gorrell reporting on a Tinker's death

 

    And then there was the case of my friend Tinker , who had flown for the Republican Air Force in Madrid.  One day as I struggled with cables from Europe, a two-line item came over the domestic wires of the United Press, date-lined as I recall, “Little Rock, Ark.”  It read as follows:

    “Tinker, aviator, recently returned from Spain, where he flew for the Red Air Force, was found dead today in a hotel room, a .22 caliber automatic at his side.  Suicide was the verdict of the coroner.”    

    Tinker’s home was in De Witt, Ark., and when last I saw him in Valencia he had been looking forward to going home.  I learned later that his mind had become so confused at home in the Middle West that on more than one occasion he had hired an aeroplane and “shot up” the main street of his village, flying barely above the telephone wires.  I guess he must have been trying to kill himself even then, but he was too good a flyer for that.  Here was a man who somehow hadn’t been able to regain his step in the country of his birth, to which he had wished to return seeking tranquility and peace.  It was a tragedy, but who was to blame?  His own people, who didn’t realize what he had done for them in Spain?  Tinker told me that he found himself no longer able to talk to anyone.

    “The Spanish War?  What’s that to us?  Aw, forget it, fellow, and get down to earth again.  You’re back in America now.”  That was the attitude he probably encountered.  Tinker was a good American and should be considered a national hero.

 

Text contributed by Ken Gorell

The thrilling story of men like Henry Gorrell who lived in so many fronts and reported the reality behind the people and the battle scenes even before USA enters ww2  , we are lucky to find today under this latest edition available to pre-order at Amazon.com (follow the link below to pre-order or click on the book's cover picture on the left)

 

Read my commentary here 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Soldier-Press-Covering-Europe-1936-1943/dp/0826218512/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1245762263&sr=1-1

 

 

Tinker's Log

 

These are the cover page and the two first pages of Tinker's Log in the Spanish Aviation. On the cover we read his real and 'alias' name , on the first we read the original listing of The Fighter Group of the 1st LaCalle and on the second its reorganization after LaCalle's departure , with details on the 'what-happened' to each of them . It is Tinker's own writing !

 

 We read :

Esquadrilla de LaCalle

Original Members

 

1st Patrol

(1) LaCalle

(2) Calderon - shot down by A.A

(3) Castaneda

(4) Lando - shot down by Heinkel

 

2nd Patrol

(5) Allison - shot down by Heinkel

(6) Evans (Dahl) (shot down by Heinkel 18 Feb but landed safely with parachute)

(7) Trejo

(8) Selles (Chang)

 

3rd Patrol

(9) Berthial - shot down by Junkers

(10) Alancon

(11) Ortiz

(12) Gil

Replacements

(1) Velasco

(2) Blanche - shot down by Savoias

(3) Lecha                         (8) Gomez by Fiat

(4) Justo

(5) Palacios

(6) Sarazuasa

Present Organization

March (1937) (when LaCalle left)

 

1st Patrol

(1) Jimenez

(2) Castaneda

(3) Riverola

(4) Alancon

 

2nd Patrol

(5) Evans (Dahl) (killed by monoplane fighter on 13th July-1937) # [1]

(6) Ortiz

(7) Gil

(8) Selles (By firing squad) [2]

3rd Patrol 

(9) Trejo

(10) Mayrinian

(11) Justo

(12) Sarazuasa

 

4th Patrol

(13) Velasco

(14) Lecha

(15) Palacios

# Mistake - landed behind enemy lines & taken prisoner

 

[1] It became known some time later that Dahl has survived and was prisoner of Franco  

[2] By middle March 1937 it became known that Selles , who had disappeared from the squadron for some time was actually accused by the Russian secret police as a spy and was shot 


 

The list of Tinker's confirmed victories :

 

Tinker left Spain with 8 confirmed victories on the official log of the Republican Air Force. On his personal log book however he mentions 19,5 victories. He also has described a shooting down of at least one JU-52, never mentioned , however , in his official log. Since the Republic was paying the mercenary pilots a bonus for every air victory they demanded a detailed confirmation that was not always possible. Many of the francist ( actually Italian and German planes ) shot down behind enemy lines were never confirmed. Beyond any doubt , though , Tinker was really an ace and theoretically the first American ace against German and Italian pilots. [Note : On the TV series 'Piece of Cake' on the life of a RAF squadron in the early days of WW2 in France , there is a pilot mentioned, an American  volunteer to RAF, that had previously shot down Messerschmitts in the Spanish Civil War. This is a fictitious character ;  the author used Tinker's story to add details to his movie. ]

Nr.

Date

Flying in the 

Type of aircraft shot down

Location

Pilot's name

1

20/03/1937

I-15 No 56 1st 1st Sq LaCalle

Fiat CR-32

Trihueque - Guadalajara

?

2

20/03/1937

I-15 No 56 Sq 1st Sq LaCalle

Fiat CR-32

Guadalajara

Micelangelo Scala    [3] 

3

17/04/1937

I-15 No 58 1st Sq LaCalle

Heinkel He-51

Teruel

?

4

12/06/1937

I-16 No CM070 1st Sq Moscas 

Fiat CR-32

Segovia

?

5

16/061937

I-16 No CM023 1st Sq Moscas

Fiat CR-32

Huesca

?

6

12/07/1937

I-16 No CM023 1st Sq Moscas 

Messerschmitt Bf109B

Brunette

Uffz. Guido Honess of 2./J88 sq.

7

17/07/1937

I-16 No CM023 1st Sq Moscas

Messerschmitt Bf109B

Madrid - Brunette

?

8

18/071937

I-16 No CM023  

Fiat CR-32  

Madrid - Brunette

?

  [3]  The author of this article will appreciate any information on this Italian pilot. It is believed to have served in the 4th Group of Italian Fighters stationed in Gorizie ( today close to the Slovenian border )  with the grade of Flight Sergeant . Details , however , remain unknown as most of these pilots were secretly sent to Spain


 

 

READ ON TINKER & OTHER ACES OF THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR 

http://www.discovermilitaryhistory.com/military2/027595742XAMUS259515.shtml

John Carver Edwards

(BOOK AVAILABLE BY AMAZON.COM)

Published to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the Spanish Civil War, this work chronicles the lives and military careers of 12 American mercenary pilots who flew for the Spanish Republican government against the combined air forces of Nationalist Spain, Italy, and Germany. Drawing upon the memoirs of these aviators and appropriate secondary scholarship, the author examines each U.S. flyer's political and personal motivation for opposing Fascism as the world prepared for World War II. His findings are as surprising as they are varied. This book also offers an insightful glimpse into the day-to-day lives of these airmen at the squadron level during their eight month tour in Spain. It describes their interaction with their Spanish and Russian comrades, the types of aircraft they flew, the skill and resourcefulness of the enemy pilots they dogfought, the international repercussions of their presence abroad, and the hostile treatment they would incur from their own government.

 

 

His Centennial Celebration : 14-07-2009 !

 

 

"People are only dead , when we forget them" 

It was more than moving ! While Frank's story and heroism seemed to have been sent for ever into the oblivion of a distant and forgotten past , we had the immense pleasure of receiving from William Ruckeyser and Frank's niece Marcia Tinker Morrison the news that they were organizing a Ceremony for the 100 years from the birth of Frank Tinker , on his grave at De Witt , Arkansas , recognized now as a true American hero ! The invitation was decorated with our I-16 CM023 profile we had produced  for an article of a Greek magazine that hosted for the first time a story on Frank Tinker, in 2002. 

We maintained an exchange of e-mails with William , waiting to see where this commemoration will arrive to. 

We could not have expected of course great fanfares and crowds in the little town where he was born but the gathering of some good friends and the honors offered by the authorities of Arkansas who wanted to remember and revive his memory was fascinating. William had also received our request to find and order a wreath on our account , in the colors of the Spanish Republic as painted on his planes rudders. At the same time , the ADAR organization of the pilots that fought for the Spanish Republic offered a flag and a medal while the whole event was under the aegis of the The Grand Prairie Historical Society  . It was also mentioned that pictures of Tinker and his book are available now at the library of his hometown. 

We provide below the most characteristic photos of the event as well as the letters and speeches offered by the authorities who raised their hands with the republican salute while honoring Frank. 

            

Frank Tinker's grave with the sign "Quien Sabe" , the Republican flag and medal of ADAR and next to it our wreath

carrying the : "TO OUR HERO : FRANK G. TINKER" 

 

 

 

         

WILLIAM RUCKEYSER

Delivering his speech

 

Marcia Tinker Morrison 

Frank's niece

 

John Cover of the The Grand Prairie Historical Society

The ADAR medal and flag

Friends around Frank's grave

The local newspaper on the celebration

The letter sent by the Mayor of De Witt , Arkansas Aubrey MgGhee for Tinker's Centennial

declaring the 11th of July 2009 , as Tinker's Day 

 

 

The letter of the Governor of Arkansas Mr Mike Beebe

 recognizing that Frank made a contribution to his Nation by fighting against the US enemies 

 

 

Follow the Links below referring to this event :

  http://www.americanfighteraces.org/Announcements_2009/franktinker.pdf

  http://www.stuttgartdailyleader.com/news/x931241551/DeWitt-honors-Frank-Tinker

  http://www.dewitt-ee.com/articles/2009/07/08/news/doc4a54b82b00a8a073208909.txt

  http://blogs.airspacemag.com/daily-planet/2009/07/02/celebrating-a-spanish-civil-war-hero/

  http://americanfighteraces.org/Announcements_2009/franktinkerace.pdf

 

 


 

Links for Frank Glasgow Tinker in the Spanish Civil War

 

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Glasgow_Tinker

    http://surfcity.kund.dalnet.se/us_tinker.htm

    http://surfcity.kund.dalnet.se/us_dahl.htm  

    http://www.libs.uga.edu/flyers/

    http://www.answers.com/topic/frank-glasgow-tinker

    http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=23363800  

    http://www.nyu.edu/library/bobst/research/tam/alba_names.html (list of the American volunteers who fought in Spain : all the names of the 'American Patrol' are listed)

    LaCalle : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andr%C3%A9s_Garc%C3%ADa_La_Calle

    Ajax Baumler :  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Baumler

 

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