Frank G. Tinker Jr was a freelance US pilot who signed up with the Republican forces in Spain because he didn’t like Mussolini. He was also attracted by the prospect of adventure and a generous pay cheque. Once over in Spain, Tinker chalked up the largest number of acknowledged enemy kills, shooting down a total of 8 Junkers, Fiats and Messerschmitts.
In their free time he and his colleagues roamed the bars and hotels of Madrid in search of champagne and a hot bath, befriending characters such as Ernest Hemingway and Robert Hale Merriman, Commanding Officer of the Lincoln Battalion of the International Brigades.
When Tinker returned to the US he was not allowed to rejoin the Armed Forces and, depressed by Franco’s victory, he was found in a hotel room in June 1939 with an empty bottle of whisky by his side and a bullet in his head. This is his account of his experiences in Spain.
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