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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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12th November 1943 47 Squadron Beaufighter TF.X LX912 F/O. Greentree

Operation: Torpedo Strike

Date: 12th November 1943 (Friday)

Unit: No. 47 Squadron (motto: Nili nomen roboris omen - 'The name of the Nile is an omen of our strength')

Type: Beaufighter TF.X

Serial: LX912

Code: KU-?

Base: Sidi Amor, Tunisia

Location: Sea of Crete (see map)

Pilot: F/O. Athol George Greentree NZ/414974 RNZAF Age 31. Missing - believed killed

Obs: Fl/Sgt. George Herbert Freeman 656750 RAF Age 29. Missing - believed killed


Taking off from El Adem (Kambut) at 11:45 hrs with one other on a torpedo strike on a convoy off Crete.

Together with 2 USAAF Mitchells and 6 Beaufighters from 603 squadron they attacked the enemy shipping off Cape Spatha. LX912 was seen at 13:15 hrs dropping an accurate torpedo on the convoy, despite the intense flak.

Immediately after releasing the torpedo he was seen to make a successful ditching in the sea. It was assumed that the crew would be quickly recovered but they were never seen again. His was the only loss on the operation.

Above: No. 1 EFTS 22A Pilot Training course at Wigwam 18th October 1941.

31 year old, Sgt. Thomas Fraser Munro NZ/415005 RNZAF - Killed on the 10th September 1942 whilst with 11 Operational Training Unit returning from an operation to Dusseldorf Wellington IC DV930 Crashed in Suffolk on return. Further information here.
20 year old, F/O. Laurence John Kirkpatrick NZ/414990 RNZAF - Killed on the 23rd September 1943 whilst with 75 Squadron during an operation to Mannheim. Sterling III EH935 JN-K
29 year old, F/O. Henry James Bennett NZ/414722 - Killed 03rd February 1945 whilst with 22 squadron on a Rhubarb operation in Burma, Beaufighter TF.X NE445.
24 year old, Sgt. John Basil Martyn NZ/415001 RNZAF - killed on the 30th March 1943 whilst with 428 Squadron. Wellington X HE175 failed to return from an operation to Bochum. Further information here
27 year old, F/O. David Ross Scrymgeour NZ/414687 RNZAF - Killed on the 19th April 1943 whilst with 13 Squadron, Blenheim V BA727 failed to return from an armed reconnaissance off Tunisia.
28 year old F/O. Robert Anderson Nimmo NZ/415006 RNZAF killed on the 04 October 1943 whilst with 115 Squadron, Lancaster II DS721 failed to return on an air sea rescue operation. Further information here
32 year old, F/O. Murray Archer Legg NZ/415071 RNZAF - Killed on the 24th January 1943 whilst with 58 Squadron, Halifax II DT684 during a transit flight.
31 year old F/O. Athol George Greentree NZ/414974 RNZAF - Killed on the 12th November 1943 whilst with 42 Squadron Beaufighter TF.X LX912 during a torpedo strike off Crete.
32 year old, Fl/Sgt. Arthur Holdsworth Smith NZ/415204 RNZAF - Killed on the 30th May 1943 whilst with 431 Squadron, Wellington X HE203 SE-B on an operation to Wuppertal. Further information here.
23 year old, Peter Sydney Watt NZ/415046 - Killed on the 02nd January 1944 whilst with 207 Squadron, Lancaster III W4892 EM-T operation to Berlin.

Burial details:

F/O. Athol George Greentree. Alamein Memorial. Column 277. Born on the 21st June 1912 at Morrinsville. Prior to service worked as a assistant accountant for John Chambers and Son of Dunedin. After serving for 2 years on the territorial army enlisted into the RNZAF at Levin on the 07th September 1941. Trained at 1 EFTS and awarded his pilots badge on the 10th January 1942. Promoted to sergeant on the 28th February 1942. Embarked for England on the 08th March 1942. Received his commission on the 12th February 1942. After serving with various units joined 47 squadron on the 25th August 1942. Son of Henry Arthur and Alice May (née Waldron) Greentree of Morrinsville and husband of Winifred Annie Greentree (née Tham), of 23 Mitchell Street, Invercargill, New Zealand. 460 flying hours logged.

Four brothers served during WW2: Pte. Stuart Frances Greentree 25167 Born 14th July 1915 - Died 08th September 1996 age 81 21 Infantry Battalion PoW 22nd July 1942 Stalag Lamsdorf. Chief Petty Officer Ralph Waldron Greentree RNZN 1456 Born 20th April 1921 - Died 18th August 1979 Age 58. Nelson Charles Greentree. Born 01st August 1919 - Died 07th March 1995 age 76.

Fl/Sgt. George Herbert Freeman. Alamein Memorial. Column 269. Son of George and Nellie Freeman; husband of Gladys R. Freeman, of Watlington, Oxfordshire, England.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Jenifer Lemaire and to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, AWMM, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 19-04-2021

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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, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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