List of flying aces from Greece
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
World War I
Greece provided only one flying ace in World War I:
|Aristeidis Moraitinis||9||DSO, War Cross (Greece)||Flew partly with the Hellenic Naval Air Service and partly with the British Royal Navy Air Service.|
World War II
Greece had six flying aces in World War II.
|Andreas Antoniou||6||Greek Squadron Leader, fought during the Greco-Italian War of 1940-41. Served with the 22nd Pursuit Squadron. Flew the PZL P-24.|
|Marinos Mitralexis||5||Cross of Valour (Greece)||Fought in the Greco-Italian War in the 22nd Pursuit Squadron. Bringing an Italian bomber down by ramming its tail made him a popular hero figure. After the fall of Greece, escaped to North Africa and fought with Greek squadron under the Allied Desert Air Force.|
|Spiros Nikolaou "Steve" Pisanos||6||Croix de Guerre (France)||Born in the Kolonos suburb of Athens in 1919. While a Greek immigrant to the United States he enlisted in the RAF. Fought with RAF and USAAF, and credited with 10 kills with the US 4th Fighter Group (European Theater). Changed nationality to US when the RAF Eagle Squadron he was serving with merged into the 4th FG. He remained with this fighter unit despite an offer to go to North Africa to join the Royal Hellenic Air Force fighting with the RAF. A friend of US ace Don Gentile, they shared quarters in the 4th Group. In March 1944, due to an engine failure he bailed out over France and was rescued by the French Resistance, staying with them until Paris was liberated. Posted to the USA he became a test pilot post and flew the jet Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star. For a while served as civilian pilot with TWA on 4 engine airliners. Back to the USAAF, he served continually on various posts, receiving 33 citations. Retired in 1974 as Colonel, still alive in 2006. Flew the Spitfire V, Republic P-47 Thunderbolt and North American P-51 Mustang. In 2008 he published "The Flying Greek" a biography on his early life and his war memories.|
|Ioannis Agorastos "John" Plagis||16||DSO, DFC & Bar, DFC (Netherlands)||As a child of Greek immigrants in Rhodesia, he volunteered to fly with the Royal Air Force, (Rhodesian Air Force had refused his application as lacked British nationality). 1940-1945. Fought with RAF. After training he joined No. 249 Squadron and flew the Spitfire V in defence of Malta. The hard fighting caused a breakdown and he was sent to the UK for a period of rest. Thereafter he flew first the Spitfire and then later the North American Mustang III in action over Europe. He was the highest scoring ace of Greek nationality being a Greek subject till the end of war. Post-war he adopted British nationality and remained in the RAF flying the Gloster Meteor retiring as a Group Captain. He returned to Rhodesia where he later committed suicide.|
|Basilios Michael Vassilios "Vass" Vassiliades||10||DFC, DFM||A Greek from the island of Chios, born in 1920. He was a student in UK at the time war broke out and unable to return home he volunteered for the RAF. Credited with 11+1/2 victories, awarded the DFC and DFM. Fought over Europe (France, D-Day, Germany) and killed in action 25 March 1945 during a ground attack. His death is mentioned in The Big Show (Le Grand Cirque) written by the French ace Pierre Clostermann with whom he occasionally shared a plane while based in Volkel, the Netherlands. He flew Spitfire Mk.V, the Mustang III and Hawker Tempest V. He became the second Greek ace retaining Greek nationality. He is also the only Greek pilot to have his name remembered on the Air Forces Memorial, Runnymede.|
|John Lolos||5||DFC, AM||Fought in the South West Pacific flying P-47 Thunderbolts with 341st Fighter Squadron, 348th Fighter Group. He claimed five Japanese Zeros and Hamps in New Guinea.|
Notes and references
- Guttman, Jon (23 September 1998). "Air Attack Over the Dardanelles". History Net. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
- Mansolas, Yiannis & Angelos (2014). "Spiros "Steve" Pisanos: The Flying Greek". imansolas.freeservers.com. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
- The London Gazette: . 31 October 1944.
- The London Gazette: . 28 April 1942.
- The London Gazette: . 3 July 1942.
- The London Gazette: . 11 October 1946.
- "Johnny Plagis". Aces of WW2.com. 2015. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
- Mansolas, Yiannis & Angelos (2007). "Vassiliades Vassilios". imansolas.freeservers.com. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
- "John Lolos – 348th Fighter Group P-47 Pilot". Pacific Wrecks. 2015. Retrieved 21 January 2016.