The First and Last Mustang Flight of a Heroic WWII American Pilot

Who Lost His Life In Preventing His Plane Crashing On An English Midlands Town

An Investigative Account By Stanley Jones     

In the English summer of 1944, an American aircraft crashed at Creswell, Stafford, killing the pilot: USAAF Captain John Pershing Perrin DFC. The booklet, The First and Last Mustang Flight of a Heroic WWII American Pilot is a definitive account of the crash and recreation of events leading to its probable cause. Captain Perrin, a native of Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA - pictured at left - a decorated WWII fighter pilot Ace, stayed with his stricken plane instead of bailing out. In doing so, he forfeited his own life to avert the fearful prospect of his pilotless, fuel-laden aircraft dropping like a firebomb onto a populated area. 
  Based on USAAF and Staffordshire Police documents, the extensively illustrated book reveals for the first time detailed particulars of pilot, mission, airplane, and in a reconstruction of the flight, the deadly circumstance that led to the crash. Above all, the account enables full and long overdue recognition of a brave airman’s supreme act of valor. To this end, the book served as the historic reference at a memorial ceremony honoring the pilot, held at the crash site on July 4, 2007. 

As pupils at Holmcroft Primary School in 1944, my brother John and I knew little about the plane crash that happened not much more than a mile from our house. Even though we had both watched the airplane fly past trailing smoke and like everyone else in our neighborhood it seemed, had raced wildly to the scene. People spoke about it not being an RAF plane. It’s not a Spitfire they said. For it wasn’t the right shape and there was a star on its side instead of a roundel. 
  Somewhat guiltily years later, I realized I knew nothing about the crash. Not even the pilot’s name. The lapse proved inspirational. Drove a decade-long search. What was it I wanted to know that caused the plane to come down? And what was the pilots role in the air force and the reason for his flight that long ago July day? Furthermore, where was he coming from and where was he going to? The unanswered questions only served to raise more. Most importantly, why didn’t he just bail out? And if he did die, as it certainly appeared he must have, where was he buried? 
  I posed these questions many times. But nobody I spoke with seemed to know any more than I did. So I decided to find out. And for my own sake as much as history’s, to write about it. 
 The resultant booklet, first produced in 2005, 2nd edition 2007, is an expanded, illustrated version of an account authored for the BBC that was published in three parts, June 10, 2005, for their webpage project The Peoples War. To read the BBC articles go here BBC Stoke & Staffordshire: Savior of Stafford

To download a free copy of The First and Last Mustang Flight of a Heroic WWII American Pilot - pictured at left - click the link below. You can then learn the result of my investigative journey. Become informed about what happened that fateful day, and why. Learn about the pilot, where in America he came from, his family - even about his personal belongings found at the crash site. You will also learn about his war exploits flying the P-47 Thunderbolt on combat missions. What Captain Perrin did to be awarded the American Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), Air Medal and three Oak-Leaf-Clusters. You will also learn about the Mustang - pictured above - the stricken plane Captain Perrin was delivering in which he died attempting a crash landing. Where and when manufactured. How it got to be over Stafford that day. Above all, you will come to understand why the flight was the decorated pilot’s first in that type of aircraft, and how tragically it came to be his last. To download 13 MB booklet, go here The First and Last Mustang Flight of a Heroic WWII American Pilot.doc

Perrin Memorial Ceremony

To commemorate Captain Perrin’s supreme act of heroism, July 4, 2007 - the 63rd anniversary of his death - a stone monument was ceremoniously unveiled at the crash site. For presentation gift purposes at the ceremony, a Commemorative Edition of The First and Last Mustang Flight of a Heroic WWII American Pilot was published, pictured below right.
ProLogis, a Denver USA based global developer of industrial facilities, and developer of the site where the crash occurred, graciously assisted in organizing and financing the event. The unstinting support of this company included arranging and financing the printing of 400 copies of the Commemorative Edition for distribution at the ceremony. Additionally, 50 boxed hardcover editions were produced for presentation to each dignitary and invited guest. 
   Furthermore, a hardcover edition, handsomely arranged within a polished hardwood, glass-fronted enclosure, nestled between the American and British flags used for the unveiling, was presented to the Perrin family at the event. 
   Following the ceremony, I wrote a brief personal account of the proceedings, produced in the form of an illustrated pamphlet, pictured lower left. To download 12 MB copy of the pamphlet go here Perrin Memorial Ceremony.doc 
  It was widely felt at the ceremony that Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Staffordshire, Colonel Michael Beatty’s Commencement Speech, most poignantly recognized the bravery of Captain Perrin. To download 30 KB copy of the speech go here Commencement Speech.doc

For those in the Staffordshire area, both books and memorial ceremony pamphlet can be found at The William Salt Library, Eastgate Street, Stafford. At this historic archival library you can view the official USAAF documents, Staffordshire Police reports, 1944 photographs & eyewitness statements obtained by the author that authenticate the account. Both book editions and pamphlet can also be found at Stafford Library, Shire Hall, Market Street, Stafford and at the Holmcroft branch of that library on Holmcroft Road, Stafford.

Follow this link Rutgers to visit a webpage of Rutgers University, The State University of New Jersey, USA, to see John Pershing Perrin, a 1936 student (Class of ’40), recorded in the Rutgers Oral History Archives: Some Gave All: World War II honors roll.

For those wishing to know more about the Mustang, I compiled an illustrated history of the famous airplane. To download 1.3 MB compilation go here: The Mustang Fighter Airplane.doc

Additional information may be found at Staffordshire Past-Track and at the following USAAF and RAF websites that were associated with Captain Perrin’s WWII combat operations. 

                                                                                      USAAF 356th_Fighter_Group

          USAAF 361st_Fighter_Squadron


About the author: Born Stafford, England, 1937.  Moved to USA 1977. Retired 1992 after 27-years with Hewlett-Packard Company. Currently writing short fiction and the occasional local newspaper article. Resides in beautiful Ashland, Oregon - one time home of Ashland Books & Music, a main street store lovingly established and operated 1993 thru 1997. Email me:,_Staffordshire