May 24, 2014
American Cemetery
Hombourg, Belgium

William S. "Bill" LYONS
357th Fighter Squadron
355th Fighter Group
8th Air Force


Bill "Tiger" Lyons during the Ceremony

William "Bill" Lyons, P-51 Fighter pilot
(photo taken in 1944 in England)

"You're on tomorrow," Captain John Poyen, 357th Squadron intelligence officer, tells Bill Lyon the day before the mission. It's November 25, 1944, and he's a 20-year-old first lieutenant P-51 pilot from Brooklyn, New York, assigned to the 357th Squadron, 355th Fighter Group, Eighth Air Force, and based at Station 122, in Steeple Morden, England.

First Lieutenant Bill "Tiger" Lyons flew 63 combat missions over Europe in his P-51 Mustang fighter plane, "Tiger's Revenge" during World War Two. Bill flew his missions mostly long-range daylight escorts protecting B-17 and B-24 bombers over Germany.

By the end of the war, in 1945, Lyons had been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with eight Oak Leaf Clusters, five European Theater of Operations Battle Stars and two Presidential Unit Citations. But he denies being a hero.

William S. "Bill" Lyons completed his 300-combat-hour tour on March 28, 1945.He is credited with three aerial victories and among his honors are the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with eight Oak Leaf Clusters, two Presidential Unit Citations and five battle stars to European Theatre ribbon.

357th Fighter Squadron

Young pilot William Lyons stands with his P-51D Mustang after a mission, while his crew chief takes a still with the gun camera (Courtesy of William Lyons)

"Tiger’s Revenge"
Painting by Artist Ronnie Olsthoorn