Reade Tilley

Eagle Squadron, WWII Ace, Berlin Airlift


Reade Tilley was a World War II fighter ace who flew with the Eagle Squadron of the Royal Air Force. He kept photos, flight logs, and diaries of his experiences. His collection includes these documents as well as others from his service as Public Affairs Officer for Gen. Curtis LeMay at Strategic Air Command. The Friends arranged with Tilley to have his papers deposited in the Academy library, and after his death they financed the shipping of those papers from Maryland to the Academy.




Reade Tilley, Gibraltar, June 1942


My Pride and Joy

MKII Hurricane AV-F “Smoky Joe” My pride & Joy! 12/303 Caliber Machine Guns  1,375 H.P. Rolls Royce Merlin – June 41


Maintaining aircraft in Malta was often a combined operation. Here a sailor and soldier check ammunition cans for the wing cannon under supervision of a Royal Air Force armorer. Pilot of this spitfire is Pilot Officer Reade Tilley of Florida U.S.A. His regular mechanic, Matt Miller, a Scotsman from Glasgow, is pulling the prop through prior to starting up.

Distinguished Flying Cross

Lord Gort presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross of the RAF to Pilot Officer Reade Tilley of the 126 Squadron. Gort was Governor General in charge of Malta.

Day Off in Malta

Reade Tilley watches JU88 and JU87 Stuka dive bombers work over Luqua Airfield from the balcony of Naxxar Palace where 126 Squadron was billeted at the time. On the fighter pilots' occasional day off from flying, he could take his work home with him as there was always plenty of opportunity to bone up on tactics by watching the diving Stukas and their escorting 109s at close range. The helmet provided some protection from the tons of shrapnel falling out of the sky from the ack ack barages.

Eagle Squadron Fighters Return

Members of the former Eagle Squadrons, now members of the U.S. Army Air Force: Major Carrol McColpin, credited with downing eight enemy planes; Capt Sam Mauriello, who destroyed three enemy planes and damaged two others, Major William Dailey, Jr., who destroyed six enemy planes, and Capt Reade tilley, who destroyed seven enemy planes, damaged five, and probalby destroyed three more.

Wiesbaden, Germany

Major Reade Tilley, Chief of Public Relations, U.S.A.F.E., and Lieutenant General "Tooey" Spatz, retiring Air Force Chief of Staff, talking to reporters, about 25 May 1948

Strategic Air Command

Colonel Reade Tilley beside an F-100 Super Sabre.