Lionel Anderson was a low flying Mosquito intruder pilot, shot down and killed in April 1944 on his second tour of operations. He had survived his first tour stooging up and down the French coast in an outdated Boulton Paul Defiant to confound the German night fighter defences and allow the RAF bomber force a free run to the target.
His journey to war had been one of enormous excitement, most of which had been spent training in the sunshine and mountains of Arizona, flying during the day and partying hard at the weekends. A prolific letter writer, he continually regaled his parents with tales of cowboys and Indians, rattlesnakes and spiders, ground loops and near misses. He also talked of his Hollywood connections, his new ‘pals’ Preston Foster and Gene Tierney, and a movie in which he had ‘starred’ as an ‘extra’. Loved by his mother and father, and worshipped by his younger brother, Gerald, it was this connection with a little-known film that was to inspire a global legend - the legend of Thunderbirds.