While most Greenville Flyers came from afar, John Whittle Massey Jr was a local Greenvillian. Born to John Whittle and Mary Jane (Moore) Massey on 30 Mar 1923. In high school, Massey was a standout football player for the Greenville Hornets.
Then ready for combat, Massey was assigned to the 4th Fighter Squadron, 52nd Fighter Group. At the time, the 4th Fighter Squadron was flying the Supermarine Spitfire (the 4th FS transitioned to the P-51 Mustang in spring of 1944).
On 19 Dec 1943, "Clatter Yellow" flight departed Calvi, Corsica, f0r a patrol mission. The flight was comprised of six Spitfire aircraft, including Massey's Spitfire LZ820. Weather at the time was overcast, which the flight was flying above longer than planned. Due to their inability to orientate themselves, the flight was running dangerously low on fuel. Massey and two wingmen, 1st Lt Leonard V. Helton and 2nd Lt Jerome Ennis, opted to make forced landings since they were unable to locate a suitable airfield prior to running out of gas.
Massey, along with many other POW's, were liberated from from the camp near the Baltic Sea on 30 Apr 1945 by advancing Russian troops.
After returning to the states, Massey wed Miss Anne Marie Leverette in 1952 and so began their family, raising four children. He and Anne ran the Main Street Package Store (also known as Main Street Liquors) in Greenville, MS, for many years. John also spent time working in the insurance industry. At the age of 80 years old, John Whittle Massey Jr. passed away in 2004.
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