This is a photo of 2nd Lt.Leonard H. Meldeau and his Spitfire during the North African Campaign of World War II. He joined the Royal Canadian Air Force and graduated first in his class and highest honors as a pilot in 1941. He was then sent to England and as a fighter pilot he served with the RAF in the defence of England against the Germans as a member of the Canadian 421st Fighter Squadron. He flew 50 missions while in England and shot down 2 Me-109's then he transferred in September 1942 to the 31st Fighter Group, 309 Fighter Squadron of the U.S.Army Air Forces. They were later deployed to support the invasion of North Africa by the Allies and they continued to fight in the Mediterrean theatre of operations for the duration of World War II.
He flew a total of 110 missions covering England, Sicily, Italy, and in the liberation of Malta. During his tour of duty he was credited with shooting down at least 4 ME109's, 3 probables, and damaged a number of other enemy aircraft as well as to shoot down a balloon. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross as well as the Air Medal with 9 Oak Leaf clusters. He was shot down himself during a takeoff scramble while the enemy pilots were attacking his air base and he was severely wounded. He was returned to the US for rehabilitation. His wife Mrs. Margaret Meldeau, who at the time was a member of the Royal Air Force's Women's Auxiliary Air Force ( RAFWAAF ), was released from service and came to America with her husband.
After being honorably discharged from the military in 1946 he and his family returned to Seneca S.C., his home town. He operated a small commercial airport there and also becoming the first Piper aircraft distributor in South Carolina. He left the airport business to study aeronautical engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology (Ga Tech) and while there he served as a member of the Georgia Air National Guard as a pilot but his college career was interrupted when he was called to return to active duty as a pilot during the Korean War. While in service he instructed young fighter pilots in combat techniques, remained on active duty serving in Germany and other places, and retired in 1969 from the USAF as a Lt.Col. and a Command Pilot's rating, the highest pilot rating a military pilot can earn. For a number of years he was a manufacturer's representative in Florida for a number of businesses and later he formed his own company selling products to Aerospace Industry, NASA, and others.