"4 Legged Friend"
Pictured above is John W. “Wild Bill” Crump and “Jeep” posing for a photo next to Bill’s P-47 Thunderbolt from the 360th Squadron, 356th Fighter Group, 8th Air Force. Jeep is laying on a 500 lb bomb.
During the 1930s Depression in America, Bill tried to make a living by helping farmers with their coyote problem. On one occasion a farmer presented Bill with a baby coyote in a box and said he could “start with this one”.
Bill could not find it in himself to kill the animal and adopted it as his pet.
He later smuggled it into the UK when, after earning his wings as a pilot, he was posted to Martlesham Heath. Bill discarded his gas mask and “smuggled” the baby coyote aboard the RMS Queen Elizabeth. The Coyote became a family member at the 360th Squadron, 356th Fighter Group, 8th Air Force.
The coyote had “dog” tags, a log book (“Form 5 ”), Immunization record. The coyote was called “Jeep” NMI Coyote ( NMI stands for “No Middle Initial”), and he accompanied Bill on his missions, in the cockpit of his Thunderbolt, named “Jackie.” Bill later flew P51, Mustangs.
Bill was billeted at Playford Hall during his stay here, and it was at there that “Jeep” sadly died when he was accidentally run over.
Jeep received a Military funeral, “missing man” formation, taps and a victory roll roll by his master, before being laid to rest with a gun salute of Colt 45s, in the grounds of Playford Hall. A plaque marks the spot.
John W. Crump- born July, 1924 - died February, 2008