William Yngve Anderson, born in Swedish Kramfors in 1921, became 89 years old. Each swastika on his P-51 Mustang denotes one official air victory.
The first pilot to successfully shoot down a German V-1 flying bomb was William Y. Anderson, according to the front page of the Chicago Tribune on June 20th, 1944. This claim may well be correct as the V-1 had entered service only on June 12. Anderson shot down at least one V-1 over France on June 17.
In addition Anderson shot down at least seven manned German aircraft. To become an ace only five were needed. On all three P-51 Mustangs that were entrusted to him, Anderson wrote in large letters "Swede´s Steed".
The night between this Monday and Tuesday Mr. Anderson, i.a. decorated personally by Eisenhower, died in his Crystal Lake home close to Chicago, at 89 years of age. In a few weeks he would have turned 90.
Anderson is featured in the US Aviation Hall of Fame as well at the Fighter Aces Hall of Fame. A handful of Swedish pilots in Finnish service during the Winter War shot down 1-3 aircraft each, but none reached the ace stage of five confirmed victories. Thus Mr. Anderson is the most successful fighter pilot from Sweden.
Strangely, in his native Sweden his feats were unknown until a few years ago, when finally he entered Swedish cyberspace and in 2010 became known through our book Swedes at War. He is on the front cover of the book.
Anderson flew 126 combat missions. Among his many medals is a French Croix de Guerre (War Cross) and a Silver Star that Eisenhower himself pinned on his uniform.
With his lovely wife Lois (with roots in Gothenburg) he had a large family. At his death he could count three children, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
During my contacts with Mr. and Mrs. Anderson I perceived Mr. Anderson as an unusually warm and cheerful man. Indeed, as one of his grandchildren wrote to me some hours after his death: "He was brilliant for aviation but even more amazing with his family".
William Yngve Anderson´s official obituary in English was published some hours ago.