Ginger Lacey


James Harry Lacey  was born on the  1st of February 1917 at Wetherby. After four years as an apprentice pharmacist he joined the RAFVR (Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve) in January 1937 as a trainee pilot at Perth, Scotland. Two years later, he joined no  1 Squadron at Tangmere. During the Battle of Britain, Lacey became one of the highest scoring pilots of the conflict. His first kill of the battle was on July 20th when he shot down a Bf109. He then claimed a destroyed Ju87 and a “probable” Ju87 on August 12th along with a damaged Bf110 and damaged Do17 on August 15th, a probable Bf109 on August 16th, he destroyed a Ju88, damaged a Do17 on August 24th and shot down a Bf109 on August 29th. On August 30th, during combat over the Thames Estuary, Lacey shot down a He111 and damaged a Bf110 before his Hurricane was badly hit from enemy fire. His engine stopped and he decided to glide the stricken aircraft back to the airfield at Gravesend instead of baling out into the Estuary. Returning to the action shortly after, he shot down a He111, three Bf109’s and damaged another on September 15th, one of the most heaviest days of fighting during the whole battle which later became known as “Battle of Britain day”.  Two days later on the 17th, he was shot down over Ashford, Kent during a dogfight and baled out without injury. During the Battle of France and the Battle of Britain, Lacey had been shot down or forced to land due to combat no less than nine times.  Lacey finally retired from the RAF on 5th March 1967, as a Flight Lieutenant and retained the rank of Squadron Leader. Ginger Lacey finished the war with 28 victories.