Salem, IL Leckrone Airport (KSLO)

I grew up in a small town about 4 hours south of Chicago and 1 hour east of St Louis, MO in a town called Salem, IL.

My first flight was from the local airport KSLO, known as Leckrone Airport.

Leckrone Airport is named for Philip Leckrone who fought in the Royal Air Force Eagle Squadrons during World War2.

Philip was born 1912 and raised in Salem to William and Lottie Leckrone. Phil also owned his own airplane in town.

He traveled to Britian in 1940 and enlisted in the Royal Air Force and learned to fly the Spitfire. While serving No.71 Squadron he was killed during formation training with another 71 Squadron aircraft. Phil died at the age of 28 and is buried in Kirton in Lindsey Burial Ground, Lincolnshire.

I’ve been doing a little reasearch online and have found some interesting pictures of him:

Phil Leckrone from his Spitfire

Phil Leckrone is pictured on the right side with some other members of 71 Squadron.

There are still members of the Leckrone family in Salem and if you ever visit the airport, there’s a tribute to him in the passenger terminal.

Every small town in this great nation holds some interesting history and this was the history in mine.


Filed under Airplanes, Flying, History, Patriotism, Valor

8 responses to “Salem, IL Leckrone Airport (KSLO)

  1. Old AF Sarge

    Excellent post! It’s important that we remember those who gave their lives in the defense of our freedom. Just as “every small town in this great nation holds some interesting history”, those same small towns brought forth the men and women who fought and died for us. Thanks for reminding us all.

  2. Hogday

    A great post and a great story. He stepped up to help lonely old Britain and was given a Spitfire to do it with, from a grateful and embattled Nation that was on its back foot and facing the Nazis alone. A very special friend.

  3. Thanks for the feedback.
    Lesson for the post:
    I should have done this post a while ago. I had more information, including the serial number of both aircraft involved in the collision. Sometime last year, I received a picture of Leckrone’s headstone. I’ve spent months looking for it but have been unable to find.
    If I find it, I’ll gladly update. Somehow this post came out shorter than I wanted 😦

  4. Bill Brandt

    I think Philip – to be one of the 100 or so Americans flying for the RAF in 1940 – had to have been a free thinker – and took part at probably Britain’s most desperate time.

    And I think of all those pilots killed in training – getting used to high performance aircraft with “ejection” procedures like WW1 (try to pry open the canopy – jump out – hope you aren’t killed by the tail)

    He was a special person –

  5. Martin Towsley

    Here is a link with the photo of the grave stone. This info about Leckrone should be added to the Wiki site about Salem.

  6. Kevin Malloy

    Greetings. I flew through SLO last summer in my Aeronca Champ—and am also researching Leckrone. You may already have this but in case not: The s/n of his Hurricane in the accident was V6636 and that of the other pilot, P/O Edwin Orbison, was V6983. See

    I have some questions if you can help:
    -Where did you find the pic with Leckrone at right in front of the Spit?
    -Do know what kind of plane he owned in Salem and is there any source of info on his US flying?


    Kevin Malloy
    Mullica Hill, NJ

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