Allauch's F-5A Lightning, Rhône's delta, France
Pilot : captain Ike B. Webb Jr.
October 24, 1943, 7h30
Campo del Oro, Ajaccio, Corsica, France
Taking pictures of objectives over Béziers and Marseille
Zone of crash
District of Gages, Allauch, Rhône's delta, France
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12th AF, 12th Photo-Squadron
Killed, France

The first Lockheed Ligthning shot down by German fighters in the South of France, crashed in the north of Marseille.

Sunday october 24, 1943, airfield of Campo del Oro, Ajaccio, Corsica, 7 hours in the morning.

Captain Ike B Webb Jr, robust strong 27 years old, pilot in the 3rd photo recognition group of 12th USAAF, and ordering 12th Squadron, goes, with the assistance of his mechanic, on board Lightning F-5A serial 42-13286.

The control tower gives the green light at 7 a.m. 30, and the plane takes off.

For his 48th war mission , captain Webb must go to Béziers. The overflight of the Mediterranean is made without problem but, with the approach of the south-western coasts of France, and, if the visibility above 3 600 meters altitude is unlimited, on the other hand, it null below, because is stopped by important cloudy masses prohibiting any activity on Béziers.

Quickly, he moves away from this zone towards Marseille, where there is a good visibility. Consequently, the work "of spying" can start.

But, two fighters from J.Gr.Süd have just taken off of their base of Avignon: the German radars have already detected the allied plane!

It was Messerschmitt 109, piloted by Uffz. (sergeant) Gerhardt Rashe which starts immediately the fight. The Lightning then seems to manage to avoid the attack, until this precise moment when"a cloud dust escapes from a wing"!

In fact of dust, Uffz. Gerhardt Rashe has just made several shots on the American plane, which instantaneously cause a long white trail ; fuel drains of Lightning have been just destroyed! It also seems that the allied pilot was hit.

Two black spots circle now around the disabled twin-engine. The pulverized gasoline trail thickens then lengthens, while the enemy guns keep silent, leaving place to an increasingly strident whistle: the mortal dive of Lightning towards the ground is accentuated. A terrible explosion immediately followed by a thick smoke going up towards the sky let the villagers stupefied , the Lightning, in a flash, came to disintegrate a little above the district of Gages, commune of Allauch, in a very boxed calcareous small valley.

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A parachute is opened, and goes down slowly...

Several hours after, and grace tu four local villagers knowing perfectly the mass of l'Etoile, that the Germans will be able to locate the body of the unfortunate captain Webb , without life, always strapped to his parachute, in a small valley called "la Mûre", less than 2 km from the place where his plane was crashed.

The captain Ike B. Webb Jr., rests now in with the american military cemetery of Draguignan, in the Var department, stud C, way 5, grave number 22.

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