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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.


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211 Squadron crest
13.04.1941 No. 211 Squadron Blenheim I L8449 P/O. Alan C. Godfrey DFC

Operation: German troop positions Florina, Greece

Date: 13th April 1941 (Sunday)

Unit: No. 211 Squadron

Type: Blenheim I

Serial: L8449

Base: RAF Paramythia, Greece

Location: Lake Mikri Prespa, Mikrolimni, Greece

Pilot: P/O. Alan Clement Godfrey DFC 39820 RAFVR Age Survived (1)

Obs: Sgt. ‘Peggy’ James Benjamin O’Neill 746861 RAFVR Age Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Jacky Wainhouse 653434 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

One of Six Blenheims ordered to attack German troop positions based at Florina, Greece. A disastrous day for the squadron when they were all intercepted by Bf109 fighters of JG27/6 some 30 km from the target - All were shot down.

The others:

Blenheim I L1434  Flown by 24 year old Fl/Lt. Lindsay Basil Buchanan DFC 40885 RAF of Wellington, New Zealand - killed with all his crew.
Blenheim I L1539 Flown by 22 year old Fl/Sgt. Arthur Graham James 522253 RAF of Penarth, Glamorgan, Wales - surviving this attack, but 2 other crew killed.
Blenheim I L4819 Flown by 21 year old F/O. Richard Vivian Herbert 33425 RAF of Theale, Berkshire, England - killed with all his crew. The pilots two brothers were also killed later in the war flying with the RAF.
Blenheim I L8478 Flown by 27 year old Sq/Ldr. Antony Thorburn Irvine MiD. 36090 RAF - killed with all his crew.
Blenheim I L8664 Flown by F/O. Charles Edward Vasey Thompson DFC. 77466 RAFVR - killed with all his crew.

Blenheim L8449 is understood to have been shot down by Hptm. H.J. Gelach of 6/JG27 at 16.05 hrs. The pilot, P/O. Godfrey baled out of the stricken aircraft and survived. He was picked up the following day by an Australian Army truck and taken to Larissa. Evacuation by Lysander was organised for both himself and another pilot from the squadron also shot down F/Sgt. James. During take off the Lysander was staffed by an Me109, although he returned fire the aircraft crashed killing Fl/Sgt. James, P/O. Godfrey survived, suffering injuries to his leg and losing two fingers.

P/O. Alan Clement Godfrey DFC Citation:

‘This officer has participated in 35 operational missions in Greece, under extremely bad weather conditions. On one occasion, a Very cartridge exploded, filling the aircraft with smoke, but he kept flying while the fire was extinguished with the aid of the observer. On another occasion he was forced to abandon his aircraft by parachute. He was later picked up and, while being transported to Menidi by air, the aircraft was attacked by enemy fighters. He promptly operated the rear gun against them but was wounded in the right hand, from which he lost two fingers. Flight Lieutenant Godfrey has at all times shown great courage and enthusiasm.’

(1) Sq/Ldr. Alan Clement Godfrey DFC was killed on the 7th August 1946 when acting as co-pilot on BEA Douglas C-47A Flight No. 530 crashed on approach to the airfield at Gardermoen in Norway. The aircraft crashed into Mistberget mountain. All the flight deck crew were killed, the ten passengers and BEA steward survived. (see Don Clark’s link below for comprehensive details)

Crew graves at Phaleron War Cemetery (courtesy Antonelos Athanasios) Full resolution copies of the grave are available to relatives with the approval of Antonelos.

Burial details:

P/O. Alan Clement Godfrey DFC. Golders Green Crematorium. Panel 2. Next of kin details not available - are you able to assist?

Sgt. James Benjamin O’Neill. Phaleron War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 4.D.14. Next of kin details not available - are you able to assist?

Fl/Sgt. Jacky Wainhouse. Phaleron War Cemetery. Coll. Grave 4.D.14. Son of Harold and May Wainhouse, of Halifax, Yorkshire, England.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Antonelos Athanasios for grave photographs. Graham Warner - 'The Bristol Blenheim’. David Gunby and Pelham Temple - 'Bomber Losses Middle East and Mediterranean Vol. 1. Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Tom Kracker - 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives'. Aircrew Remembered own Archives.

Don Clark's research into 211 Squadron holds a far more comprehensive history of the unit.

Acknowledgements: Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives and Fred Paradie - Paradie Archive (both on this site), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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