23.08.1945 No. 248 Squadron Mosquito VI RF612 DM-Z Fl/Lt. John F. Green DFC
Date: 23rd August 1945 (Thursday)
Unit: No. 248 Squadron (Coastal Command)
Type: Mosquito VI
Base: RAF Chivenor, Devon.
Location: English Channel - 58.00N - 04.08W of Plymouth
Pilot: Fl/Lt. John Frederick Green DFC 128359 RAFVR Age 26. Missing
Nav: Fl/Lt. George Brown Forrest DFM 145850 RAFVR Age 25. Missing
We were contacted by the nephew of the pilot, Mr. John Ollerton in October 2014. He has carried out extensive research into this loss Which is why we include all his report. He has also sent us many 272 Squadron photographs which we are busy researching, hoping to add additional pages to other crew members lost both from 272 and 248 Squadrons. Anyone who’s relatives flew with either of this crew are invited to contact us in order to forward to John. Aircrew Remembered are very keen to place pages of remembrance to all crews lost during training both during and post war period. There are thousands, many dont have a mention on the internet - help us to address this.
REASON FOR LOSS:
The full report as written by Mr. John Ollerton:
When I was a child I remember there was a display case which hung at the top of the stairs in my grandparents’ home. It contained the shattered remains of an aircraft windscreen which had been hit by an enemy bullet. There were other things too, which to a small boy, were mysterious treasures. There was a bow and arrow, a throwing knife, a pair of handcuffs, field dressings for treating burns and boxes of live ammunition. There was a fur-lined flying jacket and a pair of fur-lined boots with a hidden pocket, said to be for a cyanide pill.
One day, whilst secretly rummaging through a drawer, I found a telegram which informed my grandparents that one of their sons was ‘missing in action.’
My enquiries of my parents and my grandparents about who all these things belonged to were not met with very satisfactory answers. I was told that my mother’s brothers, John and Arthur had been killed in the war. I was told little about what had happened to them partly, because no one was willing to talk about the subject but, more significantly, because nobody knew.
Half a century later I inherited two albums of photographs, maps and other memorabilia which my uncle John had compiled. With these as a starting point, I began a much belated enquiry into what happened to my lost uncles.
This account of John Green’s RAF career is based on two albums of photographs, maps and other memorabilia that he compiled. I have set the content of these albums in the context of World War II drawn from RAF Operations Record Books and from historical accounts. By correlating these sources of information it is possible to identify operations in which John was involved.
I have divided this account into the periods in which John was posted to different squadrons or Operational Training Units (OTUs). These periods correspond approximately to the squadrons that he was in and the types of aircraft that he flew:
May 1939 - November 1940 - OTU Barton - Shawbury and Prestwick - flying the Tiger Moth and Avro Anson.
November 1940 - April 1941 - 272 Squadron - RAF Aldergrove - flying the Bristol Blenheim.
April 1941 - January 1942 - 272/252 Squadron - Libya, Malta, Cyprus and Egypt - flying the Bristol Beaufighter IC
January 1942 - April 1943 - No. 2 OTU - RAF Catfoss - flying various aircraft.
April 1943 - January 1944 - 248 Squadron - RAF Predannack - flying the Bristol Beaufighter VIC (F)
February 1944 - September 1944 - 248 Squadron - RAF Portreath - flying the Mosquito VI
September 1944 - June 1945 - 248 Squadron - RAF Cranwell/RAF Banff - Mosquito XVIII
June 1945 - August 1945 - 248 Squadron - RAF Chivenor - flying the Mosquito VI
John Frederick Green enlisted in the RAF Volunteer Reserve on 26 May 1939. This was a part time occupation. His main employment was as an architect’s pupil with an architectural and surveying practice in Wigan. On 2 September, at the outbreak of World War II he was mobilised into the RAF.
Right: John Green with a De Havilland Tiger Moth,
Barton Airfield, Manchester 1939.
He started to learn to fly at Barton Aerodrome in Manchester. The first record of his career is the crash of a De Havilland Tiger Moth in June 1939. A newspaper cutting in his album describes that the aircraft crashed on landing and was extensively damaged. Its occupants, instructor Stanley Hill and his pupil Acting Sergeant John Green were reported to be lucky to escape death.
On the outbreak of war in September 1939, John joined Coastal Command.
Coastal Command later diversified into using two types of squadrons: those equipped with flying boats which could operate at long range against U-boats and those equipped with fighter-bombers like the Beaufighter and Mosquito which operated in an anti-shipping role. John Green flew the second type.
The Avro Anson was first built in 1938 as a maritime reconnaissance aircraft. Whilst stable and reliable the Anson was armed with only two machine guns, one facing forward and one fired from the dorsal cockpit. It had a limited bomb load.
The United Kingdom was dependent for food, fuel, equipment and troops from the United States and Canada. Hitler announced a total blockade of the United Kingdom causing what became known as ‘The Battle of the Atlantic.’ Germany’s conquest of France and Norway in 1940 meant that it was able to base its U-boats on the North Sea and Atlantic coasts. The U-boats were assisted by the Focke-Wulf, Fw 200 Condor, based in Brest and Bordeaux. These aircraft were employed to shadow convoys relaying information about their position so that the U-boats could be directed into their path. Winston Churchill described the Condor as ‘The scourge of the Atlantic.’
By autumn 1940 the U-boats were beginning to coordinate their attacks in ‘wolf-pack’ tactics for which they would become infamous. They sank 103 ships in October and 97 in November. A total of 1,700,000 tons of shipping were lost in the second half of 1940. The loss of so many vital cargoes threatened Britain’s ability to continue the war.
John Green’s first operational squadron was 272 Squadron which was formed on 18 November 1940 at Aldergrove in Northern Ireland (Now Belfast airport). He appears to have joined the squadron from its outset. Its main purpose was convoy protection and was equipped with Bristol Blenheims. The Bristol Blenheim was an innovative design, first built in 1935 as a civilian aircraft. On the outbreak of war, it was adapted for use as a light bomber and night fighter. It was obsolete by this time and its light armament made it vulnerable to modern German fighters and suffered major losses.
In response to the rapid increase in the number of ships lost to U-boats, Winston Churchill issued his famous ‘Battle of the Atlantic’ directive, insisting that the war be taken to the U-boats, whether at sea, in their French bases or on the slips at construction yards at German ports. In response, Coastal Command was restructured. It concentrated its resources on the Atlantic, specifically the North-western approaches to the Clyde and Mersey estuaries where the bulk of the shipping losses were occurring. Several squadrons were redeployed to bases in Northern Ireland and Western Scotland. These squadrons were part of No 15 Group based in Liverpool. A new No 19 Group was established, based in Plymouth, to control operations in the South-western Approaches and the Bay of Biscay.
John appears to have been attached to both of these groups. On 24 April 1941 he was part of 272 Squadron attached to 252 Squadron based in Chivenor (No 19 Group) and then transferred back in Aldergrove (15 Group). On 8 April 1941 he was in 272 Squadron when it was congratulated by the commanding officer of 15 Group on its efficiency. It had achieved the highest number of flying hours without accidents.
This photograph of a Beaufighter armed with a torpedo or ‘Torbeau’, is from the collection of Group Captain ‘Bill’ Sise who
was John’s squadron leader when he was stationed in Banff
The Operations Record book for 272 Squadron makes several mentions of him whilst based at Aldergrove. He carried out patrols and escorts of convoys in a Blenheim IV (A). His navigator was Sgt Burrows. No 252 and No 272 Squadrons were equipped with Bristol Beaufighters in January 1941. The powerful new Beaufighter had a top speed of over 300 miles per hour and was heavily armed with four Hispano 20 mm cannon on the lower fuselage and eight machine guns mounted in the wings. The ‘Beau’ would ultimately carry out all manner of escort and strike roles for Coastal Command, but for now demand was greatest in the Mediterranean, and John was part of a group from No 272 Squadron that were sent to Malta and North Africa in May 1941.
Above: Tarifa Point en-route to
Gibraltar and Egypt.
In February 1941 the Afrika korps commanded by Erwin Rommel had been sent to Africa to reverse the Axis position following the defeat of the Italian army. He quickly launched a fully fledged offensive which threatened Allied control of the Suez canal and the vital oilfields of the Middle East. The strategically important island of Malta was put under siege by German and Italian ships, submarines and aircraft.
John left Aldergrove in May 1941. He flew to Chivenor and St. Eval and then, on 28 May, he flew to Gibraltar (see above). The following day he flew to Luqa in Malta, and the next day to Egypt.
For the next five months he was in action in support of the North Africa campaign. This involved giving support to the evacuation of Crete, escorting convoys, attacks on an Italian seaplane base and reconnaissance.
Whilst in North Africa, John’s navigator was usually Sgt. F.J. Armour, known as ‘Titch’. His name was sometimes spelt ‘Armer’. (shown left)
Operation ‘Substance’: 25 July 1941:
A convoy which he escorted was part of ‘Operation Substance.’, a British naval operation in July 1941 to escort a convoy from Gibraltar to Malta. The convoy was escorted by the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal, battlecruiser HMS Renown, battleship HMS Nelson, several cruisers and destroyers. On 23 July, south of Sardinia, there were heavy German and Italian air attacks which resulted in one cruiser damaged and one destroyer sunk. Altogether only five of the fourteen ships of the convoy reached Malta, however their supplies were fundamental to saving the garrison. Although the name of the operation is not given in John’s orders, shown above, he was involved in providing escort to a convoy from Galita Island to Malta on 23 July. Galita Island is about 100 miles south of Sardinia.
The Operations Record Book for 272 Squadron shows that on 27 August 1941 John took off with Sgt. Armour from Mersa Matruh in Libya at 6:30 with two other aircraft to escort a convoy. He met up with the convoy at 32 18’N 27 57’E (about 70 miles from the coast) but the other two aircraft failed to arrive. At 09:20 he sighted an enemy aircraft, engaged it at 09:30 and shot it down at 09:27 (32 20’N 27 08E). At 09:43 he returned to the convoy, at 09:47 he left the convoy and arrived back at base at 10:45. John Green was flying a Beaufighter, aircraft ‘L.’ The enemy aircraft was confirmed as a Savoia Marchetti SM84, an Italian torpedo-bomber.
Whilst in North Africa, John had his first meeting with George Forrest. Whilst there is no record of them flying together whilst they were there, George became John’s navigator when they returned to the UK.
John was glad to leave North Africa. In a letter to home on 14 November he complained about being fed up of looking at sand and referred to ‘the inglorious tailing off of their visit.’
He departed on a long sea voyage home on 16 November from Suez. His voyage stopped at Port Sudan, Durban, East London, Cape Town and Trinidad. Whilst in Durban he was admitted to Clairwood Hospital for five days in December but it is not know what for. He arrived in Gourock in January 1942.
January 1942 to April 1943 - Operational Training Unit , Catfoss:
It was Coastal Command policy to use aircrew who had completed one tour of duty to act as instructors at Operational Training Units (OTUs) before flying a second tour. Thus, on return from Africa, John spent 14 months at No 2 OTU in Catfoss in Yorkshire and Upavon in Wiltshire.
Right: John with one of his pupils.
April 1943 to S September 1944 - 248 Squadron, Predannack and Portreath:
In the first four months of 1942 Coastal Command had only sunk six enemy merchant ships. The continuing loss of experienced crews to overseas postings or to OTUs further contributed to the reduction in efficiency of anti shipping squadrons. The Luftwaffe was also becoming active in the Bay of Biscay with Ju88 fighters flying long range patrols to give air cover to U-boats in their mustering areas. This resulted in a major review of tactics and a significant increase in the numbers and quality of aircraft. No. 235 and 248 Squadrons were transferred to No 19 Group and dispatched on long-range fighter sweeps.
1942 proved to be critical for the Allies. A total of 1,664 ships were lost, most of them sunk by U- boats. However during this period the efforts against U-boats by air and sea had been stepped up. In the last six months of the year 13 U-boats were sunk by Coastal Command. The battle had not swung completely in the Allies’ favour but from this point on the U-boats were as much hunted as hunters. On 15 October 248 Squadron was transferred from Dyce in Scotland to No 19 Group and based at Predannack in Cornwall. It was equipped with the new Beaufighter, IC.
On 30 April 1943 John Green and George Forrest were posted from Catfoss to 248 Squadron, first for training in Dyce (now Aberdeen airport) and then to Predannack. On 9 March MJM Guedj DSO, DFC, Cde G (Free French Air Force) was posted to 248 Squadron to lead ‘A’ Flight. Guedj, who operated with the nom de guerre Maurice to avoid German reprisals against his family, was a very popular and much celebrated officer. He was killed in action whilst stationed at Banff. He would have been John’s flight leader.
Two Lucky Escapes:
From the Operations Record Book and a newspaper article in John’s album it is possible to identify two aerial combats that John was involved in. One describes how he accounted for one of his ‘One and a half Huns’. However, the Hun came close to accounting for him. The records book also describe another air battle in which two of his comrades were killed and he had a lucky escape.
The newspaper cutting reads as follows: ‘Beaufighters of the Coastal Command squadron which destroyed a four engined Fw Kurier and a Ju 88 over the Bay of Biscay a few days ago shot down another Fw200 yesterday states the Air Ministry News Service. One of the Beaufighter pilots, Flying Officer J.F. Green of Leigh, Lancashire said, ‘The Fw was very low over the water when we saw him. I gave him a couple of bursts on the port quarter and he returned fire from his forward guns. One of his bullets struck my windscreen. As I broke away my observer saw the Fw burst into flames amidships.’
The Focke-Wulf Fw200 Kurier is also referred to as the FW200 Condor. The aircraft was used as a passenger plane before the war but was later adapted to military use. ‘Kurier’ was its original name which continued to be used by the Allies but the name ‘Condor’ was adopted by the Germans to reflect its use as a reconnaissance aircraft. The report of the incident as follows:
Operations Record Book for 2 August 1943:
In an operation involving four Beaufighters aircraft “J” (F/O J.F Green, pilot and F/O G.B. Forrest DFM navigator wireless) sighted one Fw200 flying at 1000 yards on the port beam at 50 degrees and warned the three other aircraft “P” “W” and “L” and immediately made a climbing turn in the direction of the enemy aircraft. The Fw 200 becoming aware of its danger started to climb for cloud cover. Aircraft “J” now closed to 700 yards and fired a short test burst of cannon fire and then two longer bursts from 500 yards and a dull red glow which rapidly turned to flames was seen to issue from underneath the cockpit. Return fire from the enemy aircraft’s port quarter was experienced and the windscreen of aircraft “J” was shattered and the pilot was temporarily blinded by dust and splinters.
Due to this the Beaufighter overshot the FW 200 and became a target for the enemy aircraft front gun receiving hits one the tailplane and the port propellor. The navigator of “J” fired a short burst from the tail gun. “J” then broke way to starboard after observing pieces falling from the enemy aircraft which was now well alight. Meanwhile aircraft “L” (P/O V.R. Scheer RCAF (pilot) and F/O R.W. Twallin (navigator wireless) had closed in simultaneously with “J” for the first attack and fired a long burst of cannon fire from dead astern and slightly below at 700 yards. A second longer burst was delivered from 400 yards and the rear half of the gondola was seen to break away and fall off causing aircraft “L” to break away making a steep dive to port to avoid colliding with it. Aircraft “W” (F/O P.J. McGarvey (pilot) and F/O A.M. Barnard (Navigator wireless) now came into attack the enemy aircraft from the port rear quarter and fired a short burst from 300 yards range but no hits were seen to register. The Focke-Wulf was now blazing furiously and was seen to enter into a steep dive which carried it into and under the sea where it could be seen for a few seconds, its tail fin sticking out of the water and creating a wake on the surface. Blazing patches of burning oil were left on the water accompanied by a column of smoke 500 feet high. Casualties to our personnel - nil. Damage to aircraft “J” - windscreen shattered, starboard propellor hit and one bullet in tail plane and stern plane.
Aircraft “J” 180 rounds of 20 mm and 23 rounds of 303, Aircraft “L” 160 rounds of 20mm, Aircraft “W” 80 rounds of 20 mm.
This is the first of two engagements in which John was nearly killed. The second followed nine days later. The Operations Record Book reads as follows:
Operations Record Book for 7 August 1943:
Later in the day, four more aircraft took off on offensive patrol. Sighted Liberator orbiting and observed a dinghy and smoke on the sea. Four persons could be seen in the dinghy. Three were waving vigorously but the fourth appeared to be sleeping. Our aircraft gave escort for one hour and three minutes. On returning to base, navigator of aircraft “B” (F/O A.M. McNichol (navigator wireless) sighted four Focke-Wulf 190s three miles distant on the port quarter flying at 75 degrees and warned the other aircraft. Al of our Beaufighters immediately made for cloud cover which was 9/10 at 3000 feet. (Our aircraft were flying at 50 feet when the enemy aircraft were sighted.) Fw 190s came in to attack from astern. One chased “B” (Fl/Lt. C.R.B. Schofield (pilot) and F/O A.M. McNichol (navigator wireless) into cloud and three were chasing aircraft “D” ( S/L R.G. Winnicott (pilot and F/O A.E. Stoker (navigator wireless), “I” ( Fl/Lt. G.C. Newman FF AF pilot and F/O G.C. Cochrane (navigator wireless) and “S” (F/O J.F. Green (pilot) and F/O G.B. Forrest DFM (navigator wireless). Aircraft “D” was seen to be on fire, meanwhile two 109s were attacking “S” from all angles. The pilot took violent evasive action, gained cloud and turning sharply to port, emerged a few seconds later only to be attacked again by the fourth 190. Two hits were sustained by “S”, one on the starboard exhaust ring and the other on the stern plane. During the attacks the navigator “S” fired four or five bursts of machine gun fire at point blank range of approximately 150 yards with no deflection. Hits were seen to register on the engine of the enemy aircraft which broke away sharply to port. “S” entered cloud and the enemy aircraft were not seen again.
Two 190s were seen to tail leader “D” and chased aircraft “Y.” “Y” began violent evasive action and the enemy aircraft opened fire at 400 yards astern but no hits were scored. The crew of aircraft “Y” saw aircraft “D” go down in flames and hit the water, continuing to burn after hitting the sea. “Y” gained cloud cover but emerged five minutes later to find itself over “D”, a blazing wreck on the water, nothing seen of the crew. “Y” set westward course for 20 minutes then turning northwards. Nothing further seen of FW 190s. “Y” landed at RAF Talbenny having petrol in the tanks for a further 10 minutes flying, no injury to personnel. Aircraft “S” and “B” returned to base having sustained no injury to aircrew.
Ammunition used by our aircrew - aircraft “S” fired 53 rounds of 303 ammunition. During the enemy aircraft attacks it was noted that they were firing self-destroying ammunition.
John is recorded as having flown on several operations during the next three months. George Forrest was his navigator on all but one occasion. The majority of the operations were reconnaissance or active intervention. All but two passed without incident:
Operations Record Book for August 1943:
Aircraft “C” (F/O J.F. Green (pilot) and F/O G.B. Forrest DFM (navigator wireless) airborne at 04:25 hours on anti-shipping recce. Drift wind calculated at first light, by the time that this was calculated aircrat had nearly reached Spanish coast due to the true wind being behind instead of in front as forecast by the met. Captain therefore decided to pinpoint on Spanish coast and commence search from South to North. Commenced search at 06:57 hours using five miles visibility, nothing seen, ceased search at 08:40 hours and set course for base where it landed at 11:35.
Operations Record Book for November 1943:
Four aircraft on offensive patrol, “N” (F/O J.F. Green (pilot and F/O G.B. Forrest DFM (navigator wireless), “K” ( F/S A.L. Chrisholm (pilot and W/O G.P Hillmister (navigator wireless), “J” (P/O B.C. Roberts (pilot and F/S P. Winsor (navigator wireless). Sighted Focke-Wulf 200 flying at sea level. All four aircraft attacked in series. Enemy aircraft returned fire but crashed into the sea within 30 seconds, two members of the crew seen swimming. Aircraft continued patrol returning to base without further ado. No damage sustained by our aircraft.
Operations Record Book for 18 December 1943:
A blockade runner was a modified merchant ship with protective armour and flak guns designed by the Axis to break through the allied blockade of French ports. The 6,344 ton Italian merchant vessel Pietro Orseolo was used as a blockade runner between France and the Far East. She left Kobe in Japan on 23 January 1943 with 90 passengers, mainly military personnel who were being repatriated and then picked up a cargo of 5,500 tons of rubber from Singapore. The following brief extract from the Operations Record Book on 18 December1943 confirms that John Green and George Forrest in Beaufighter “C”, one of the four 248 aircraft which took part in the attack. It reads as follows:
In November the squadron received notification that it was to re-equip with the Mosquito. It was also advised that the squadron was to be re-equipped with VHF and GEE. GEE was a navigation aid originally used for bombers. It worked on directional radio waves emitted from three points near to the base airfield which enabled the navigator to keep his aircraft on course for its objective.
248 Squadron was re-equipped the de Havilland Mosquito VI. Its main task was fighter reconnaissance over the Channel and along the French coast in preparation for the invasion of Normandy. 248 Squadron was one of the first Coastal Command squadrons to be equipped with the Mosquito. Being made from wood and powered by twin Merlin engines it could reach speeds of almost 400 mph which, until late in the war, was faster than German fighters. The ’Mossie’ was armed with four cannons, eight machine guns, rockets and bombs. It was very manoeuvrable and popular with its crews. The Mosquito became famous for long-range, high speed incursions into enemy occupied territory; pathfinding for bombing raids and raids on specific buildings or shipping. John Green flew the Mosquito from December 1943 to the end of the war.
At the beginning of 1944 Coastal Command had at its disposal eight Beaufighter squadrons and two Mosquito squadrons, a total of 600 aircraft. By the spring of the year German U-boats were withdrawn from the Atlantic to prepare for an invasion of France which they suspected was coming. The first schnorkel equipped U-boat, U539, came into service which meant that it could run its diesel engines whilst remaining submerged thus making it much harder to detect.
Chief Marshal Sholto Douglas gave 19 Group the task of patrolling the Western end of the Channel and it was to this that No 248 Squadron was attached. In January 1944 No 248 Squadron was part of 19 Group from Predannack. They were equipped with Mosquito XVIII and Mosquito VI. The group operated in twelve defined areas stretching between Southern Ireland and the Loire, flying continuous patrols to deny U-boats access or at least force them to dive prematurely and exhaust their batteries. Between 7 and 13 June six U-boats were sunk in 19 Group’s area.
By August the approach of American troops on the French U-boat ports meant that the U-boats were transferred to Norway. Twenty-nine German ships were sunk in August by which time the German navy had been eliminated from the Bay of Biscay.
John Green was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross on 25 March 1944. On 30 June he has selected for an Extended Service Commission which meant that he could have continued in the RAF after the war.
On 30 April the squadron was advised that it may be required to support ‘a land battle.’ John Green was promoted to Flight Lieutenant with effect from 8 June 1944. George Forrest was promoted to Flight Lieutenant with effect from 11 June 1944.
Operations Record Book for 6 June 1944 (D-Day):
Our aircraft “G” F/O J.F. Green (pilot) and F/O G.B. Forrest DFM (navigator wireless) and “F” (F/S L.D. Stoddart (pilot) and Fl/Sgt. C. Watson (navigator wireless) became detached from formation as they were investigating unidentified aircraft which turned out to be a JU 188. The JU was shadowing a force of destroyers (including H MS Javelin. probably our force PC. A t 800 yards the JU 188 went into a steep climb for cloud cover but aircraft “G” was able to close to 500 yards and fire a three-second burst before the enemy aircraft disappeared. No strikes were seen although tracer was seen around the enemy aircraft. About five seconds later the enemy Aircraft appeared in a shallow dive about 100 feet above the leader who was unable to engage on account of speed. Aircraft “F” 500 yards from the enemy Aircraft 15 degrees on his starboard quarter and attacked at once closing to 150 yards. Hits were observed on the cockpit and the starboard engine caught fire. The enemy aircraft rolled onto its back and spun steeply into the sea shedding pieces. Little wreckage and some burning pieces remained. Our Aircraft and crew were undamaged and all of our Aircraft returned to base safely. Fl/Sgt. Stoddart claimed the victory.
The last entry in the 248 Squadron Operations Books which mentions John Green or George Forrest is as follows:
Operations Record Book for 13 June 1944:
At 22.04 Aircraft “ A” (F/O J.F. Green (pilot and F/O G.B. Forrest DFM (navigator wireless) was airborne on a visual recco of Morlaix. Landfall was made at Tregastel at 22:36 and a thorough recco was made of the approaches to the estuary to Morlaix. Light flak was encountered at Morlaix aerodrome and Aircraft “ A” returned fire shooting up hangers. Aircraft then set course for home. Nothing more being encountered.
September 1944 to July 1945 - 248 Squadron, Banff:
On 10 September 1944 248 Squadron was transferred to Banff to intensify the attacks on German shipping in the North Sea. German armaments manufacturing industries were heavily reliant on supplies of high grade iron ore imports from Sweden. In winter the only practicable means of transporting this to the Ruhr was through the ice free Norwegian port of Narvik. From here it was shipped by convoy down the long an indented coast of Norway and then directly across the North Sea to Rotterdam for transfer onto barges for onward transport up the Rhine. The convoys were the target of the nine squadrons which made up the Banff and Dallachy Strike Wings located in North East Scotland. By day, the convoys were forced to lie up in the deeply indented fjords of the Norwegian coastline where they were protected by shore batteries and flak ships. The Beaufighters and Mosquitos had to fly into the fjords to hunt them. What followed was nine months of air/sea battles fought at close quarters with increasing ferocity. Casualties on both sides were high. Of the 700 airmen who served at Banff and Dallachy, 450 (or 65%) lost their lives in these battles. In the first three months of operation the Banff Strike Wing lost a third of its aircrews every month.
On 1 September 1944 18 Group Coastal Command took over RAF Banff under the command of Group Captain Max Aitken, DSO, DFC. During the beginning of the month 144 squadron Beaufighters with 235 and 248 squadron Mosquito’s arrived. Also joining the Banff Wing was "P" flight of 333 Norwegian Mosquito squadron to act as outriders due to their knowledge of the Norwegian coastline. Commanding Officer of 248 squadron is New Zealander, Wing Commander G.D. "Bill" Sise.
The photograph above is from Bill Sise’s collection. It was probably taken on February 4,1945 when he records there being a press demo. There were normally 16 aircraft in No 248 squadron. The aircraft in the foreground is an Airspeed Oxford.
There are no entries in the 248 Squadron Operations Books mentioning John Green or George Forrest whilst they were stationed at Banff. What they were doing in this period is uncertain. There are no entries in John’s Service Record which indicate what he was doing at this time. It is possible that they were ‘tour expired’ which could mean that they were given non-operational responsibilities, possibly in the Operations Block.
John and George Forrest survived the war in Europe. They celebrated VE Day in Manchester whilst staying at John’s parents’ house in Hindley Green. They were separated during the night and George had to find his way seventeen miles home alone in the middle of the night. John’s sister Jessie had to let him in.
July to August 1945 - 248 Squadron, Chivenor
On 19 July 1945 248 Squadron was moved from Banff to RAF Chivenor in Devon.
Flight Lieutenant John Frederick Green (128359) RAFVR age 26 and his navigator George Brown Forrest (145850) age 25 were killed on 23 August 1945 whilst flying in Mosquito VI, RF612 of No 248 Squadron.
This is that last photo taken of John and his brother Arthur. It was probably taken in March 1944 when they were on leave at their parents’ house in Leigh Lancs. Arthur was killed four months later on 9 July at Juvigny sur Seulles in the Battle of Normandy. John is wearing the ribbon of the DFC, which was awarded in March 1944. Arthur is wearing a single star on his epaulettes signifying that he has been commissioned second lieutenant but he is wearing an RAC cap badge. This suggests that it was taken before his transfer to the Loyal Regiment on 1 April 1944. (Webmasters note: Lieutenant Arthur James Green 299730. Killed whilst serving with the York and Lancaster Regiment attached to the 1st Battalion Tyneside Scottish Black Watch - Royal Highlanders)
This is probably the last photograph taken of John. On 26 July 1945 John’s sister Jessie married Captain Douglas Richard Ollerton. John was the best man. He was killed four weeks later.
The RAF Accident Card records the crash as having taken place at 13:30 hrs on 23/8/45, 25 miles south of Plymouth during a Wing Training Flight. It reads: Making dummy attacks with Spitfires. While making steep turn Aircraft flicked onto its back, dived, rolled out and commenced full pull out of dive at 500’. Aircraft flicked and spun into sea. Aircraft probably stalled off too tight a turn. Pilot attempted too tight a turn for his speed, stared and spun while making dummy attacks on Spitfires.
John pictured here with his navigator George Forest.
The cause of the incident is given as: Pilot mishandled Aircraft - too tight turn for speed caused high speed stalls. AOC and AOCIC concur. (i.e. Air Officer Commanding and Air Officer Commanding In Charge)
Records held at the Air Historical Branch (RAF) describe the accident in more detail:
At the time of his death Fl/Lt. Green was the pilot of Mosquito RF612 belonging to 248 Squadron based at RAF Chivenor in Devon. Two sections of Mosquitos of 248 Squadron had been authorised to act as fighter cover to protect Beaufighters from dummy attacks by three Spitfires. Fl/Lt Green was the leader of one of the sections.
It was planned for the Spitfires to attack the torpedo Beaufighters on their run up to the target vessel. The Wing Leader of the fighter circus stressed that the Beaufighters should attack in sections, making one run and then proceed to their rendezvous start point. Two sections of Mosquito aircraft were to act as fighter escort for the torpedo sections and they were to rendezvous over Eddystone Lighthouse.
At 10:55 hours Fl/Lt Green and his navigator took off from RAF Chivenor. At approximately 13:08 hours the first sections of the Beaufighters were seen making their run up to the target and the Spitfires were ordered to attack. The escorts of Mosquitos then proceeded to attack the Spitfires and Mosquito RF612 was seen on the tail of a Spitfire. Another Spitfire was just about to attack the Mosquito at about 2000-2500 feet and at 500 yards range when the Mosquito made a steep turn to starboard, flicked onto its back and went into a steep dive on its back at approximately 70 degrees to the horizontal. The aircraft then stalled, went into a spin and hit the water at a position 58- 04 -08 W of Plymouth. The aircraft was lost at 13:30 in good weather but sadly neither Fl/Lt. Green nor his navigator was recovered.
View of the site of John’s crash (50.00N, 04.08 W) seen from the West
This account of John Green’s career is based on the following sources:
• John Green’s Service Record supplied by the RAF
• 248 Squadron Operations Record Books, AIR 27 in The National Archive at Kew
• The RAF Accident Card recording John’s death supplied by the RAF Museum at Hendon
• Coastal Command 1935-49 by Ian Carter
• The Cinderella Service - RAF Coastal Command 1939-1945 by Andrew Hendrie
• The Price of Peace by Colin Cummings
• Coastal Command in Action 1939-45 by Roy Conyers Nesbit
• The Strike Wings Anti-Shipping Squadrons 1939-45 by Roy Conyers Nesbit
• Coastal Command at War by Chaz Bowyer
• A Separate Little War: The Banff Coastal Command Strike Wing Versus the Kriegsmarine and Lufwaffe 1944-1945 by Andrew D. Bird.
• Banff Strike Wing at War by Les Taylor
I am grateful to the following people who have helped me with my research:
• Group Captain Angus McIntosh DFC who served with No 248 Squadron in Banff •Shirley Cross of Morpeth Library
• Andrew D. Bird registrar of No 248 Squadron
• Colin Jeffery of the RAF Banff Museum
• Peter Elliott of the RAF Museum
• Flight Lieutenant M Hudson MA BA of the Air Historical Branch (RAF)
• John Sise, son of Group Captain ‘Bill’ Sise DSO DFC who served with John at Banff
• Group Captain Raymond Price of No 248 Squadron, Bill Sise’s navigator
Above all, my most valuable source of information has been John Green himself from whom I have inherited two invaluable albums of photographs, maps and other memorabilia The first covers his whole service history and is particularly well annotated in the first years. The second is a detailed illustration to his posting to North Africa Middle East Memories: Pictorial Personal Record of a Flying Visit.
Fl/Lt. John Frederick Green DFC. Commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial Panel 265. Son of Alfred and Elsie Green, of Leigh, Lancashire, England. His younger brother killed earlier in the war on the 9th July 1944 - 21 year old Lt. Arthur James Green. Buried at St. Manvieu War Cemetery, Clavados, France. Grave V.A.20.
Fl/Lt. George Brown Forrest DFM. Commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial Panel 265. Son of Thomas and Ada Forrest, of Edinburgh, Scotland.