Lieutenant Colonel Leon McFaddin Blanding was born on 30 October 1918 in Sumter, Sumter County, South Carolina, USA, the youngest of the seven children of Donald McQueen Blanding (1868-1934) and Georgia Conyers Blanding née Ingram (1878-1959).
He joined the Royal Air Force and as a Sergeant he was attached to No.121 Eagle Squadron in 1942, initially based at RAF North Weald. Our Picture Source outlines his service career in both the British and American Air Forces.
On 8 August 1944 his skull was fractured when the North American P-51 Mustang aeroplane he was flying was hit by flak on a mission to Norway and his service ended on 29 September 1944 when he retired holding the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He was awarded the Air Medal, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, the Purple Heart and the World War II Victory Medal.
In 1947 he married Pattie Annette Warren (1924-2015) and they had at least three children: Wesley M. Blanding, Patricia Blanding & Elizabeth Blanding.
He died, aged 79 years, on 15 April 1998 at home at 752 Mattison Avenue, Sumter, South Carolina, and was buried in Plot 275 at Sumter Cemetery, 700 W Oakland Avenue, Sumter, South Carolina.
Credit for this entry to: Andrew Behan.