The Americans who died for Canada in WWII finally get their due

tags: World War II, Canada, memorials




WASHINGTON—Richard Fuller Patterson was a strapping young flyer with a world of promise when he died, alone and forgotten, almost 72 years ago in the cockpit of his Spitfire.

Shot down over Belgium at age 26, with a Canadian insignia on his arm and his American citizenship in doubt. That’s how the end came for this graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law School.

Patterson was an heir to a name that still means something in Virginia: the Pattersons of Richmond founded the iconic Lucky Strike tobacco brand that the whole world, it seemed, was smoking during the Second World War. “Fuller,” as the charismatic fighter pilot was known, was the golden boy.

He was also a gun-jumper: one of the more than 840 American volunteers who would not wait until their country joined the war against Hitler. Instead, they put their passports on the line, joining, training — and, eventually, dying — as members of the Royal Canadian Air Force....




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