“Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”
— Winston Churchill’s offers his famous tribute to the RAF on this day in 1940.
Today’s Roll of 14 names includes an account of a pilot from Belfast who died off Norway and who is honoured in Trondheim.
Representing their comrades who died on this day
9th Bn. Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. Private. 17586. Died 20/08/1916. Aged 24. Son of Mrs. M. Clinging, of Fivemiletown, Co. Tyrone. Mont Huon Military Cemetery, Le Treport, Seine Maritime, France
+BAMFORD, Joseph Lamont
Royal Flying Corps. 17th Squadron. Formerly Royal Scots Fusiliers and RNAS. Croix de Guerre with palms (France). Twice Mentioned in Despatches. Died 20/08/1917. Age 23. Son of Joseph and Margaret Bamford (nee Hazlett), Main St., Portrush. Salonika (Lembet Road) Military Cemetery, Greece
15th Btn. Royal Irish Rifles. Rifleman. (19371). Died 20/10/1918. Age 28. He was the son of Mrs. Sarah Livingstone of 55 Antrim Street, Lisburn. Born at Killcross, Crumlin, he lived in Crumlin, enlisted at Antrim . Harlebeke New British Cemetery, Harlebeke, Belgium.
+GREEN, Maurice David
RAFVR. Pilot Officer. 78263. MID. Died 20/10/1940. 248 Sqdn. From Ballinavalley, Neills Hill, Belfast, he enrolled August 1939. As an observer, he undertook pilot training. He received his call-up on 01/09/1939, completing training at 4 Bombing and Gunnery School at RAF West Freugh. He joined RAF 248 Squadron on 30/03/1940 at North Coates. A posting to No 1 OTU at Silloth followed on 31st May 1940 for further training. With that completed, he rejoined 248 Squadron on 25th June 1940. He flew Blenheim bombers with RAF 248 Squadron during the Battle of Britain between July and October 1940. He went missing in action presumed dead on 20/10/1940.
Green was part of a crew that took off at 0716hrs from Coastal Command base RAF Sumburgh in the Shetland Islands in Blenheim IVF L9453. The plane coded WR-Z was referred to as “Z for Zebra”. Along with two other Blenheims, the reconnaissance mission was to find a shot-down German crew between Stadtlandet and Trondheim on the Norwegian coast. Intercepted radio messages suggested a floating dingy of German survivors would be picked up by a Luftwaffe floatplane.
While in the air off Ballen, Hemnfjorden Sør-Trøndelag, Blenheim L9453 came under attack from two ME109s from 4/JG77 at 1023hrs. Luftwaffe Unteroffizier Ludwig Fröba claimed the victory.
Pilot Officer Sydney Russell “Paddy” Gane (20) from Duncon, Argyllshire, Scotland baled out as the plane went down. Pilot Officer Green and Sergeant Norman James Stocks remained on board as the Blenheim entered the sea. This was one of only two losses for RAF 248 Squadron in the battle.
248 had lost seven of their most experienced men in the space of a day.
A sixteen-year-old local boy Erling Karlsen watched as the Luftwaffe pilots strafed the wreckage. Afterwards, he rowed out with friends to try salvaging some of the plane. As Gane’s parachute fell, the Messerschmitt gunners shot the British pilot. Norwegian locals would later find Gane’s body and bury him on the hillside at the nearby Stamnes Farm.
The farmer did not want the burial near his farmyard so locals dug a grave on the hillside. German soldiers helped to carry the body on a door taken from a nearby boathouse. He was reinterred at Stavne Cemetery, Trondheim on 31/08/1946. Runnymede Memorial, Panel 8. 502 (Ulster) Squadron WM, St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast
Royal Artillery. Gunner.1523895. Died 20/08/1941. Aged 42. 314 Battery, 102 Heavy Anti Aircraft Regiment. Husband to M. Ferguson of Belfast. Belfast City Cemetery, Glenalina
RAFVR. Pilot Officer.124267. D F C. Died 20/08/1942. Aged 19. 218 Sqdn. Son of W. H. and Jane McAuley, of Ballygally, Co. Antrim. Runnymeade Memorial, Surrey. Panel 70
+ASHBROOK, Gordon Charles
Royal Artillery. Gunner.1654353. Died 20/10/1943. Aged 29. 8 H.A.A. Regt. Son of Oscar Charles and Flora Maud Ashbrook; husband of Vera Gladys Ashbrook, of Luton, Bedfordshire. Delhi War Cemetery, India
+BLACK, Kennedy Boyd
RAFVR. Sergeant. 1130432. Died 20/08/1944. Aged 22. Son of Joseph Douglas and Maude Black of Drumsurn, Limavady. Balteagh Presbyterian Churchyard
RNR. Lieutenant-Commander. HMS Victory. Died 20/08/1944. Son of Robert and Elizabeth McClelland; husband to Ellen McClelland, of Belfast. Carnmoney Cemetery East. Sec. C. Grave 161. Family Memorial
RAFVR. Aircraftman 1st Class. 2257534. Died 20/08/1946. Aged 20. 644 Sqdn. Son of Henry and Elizabeth Pickering, of Belfast. Ramleh War Cemetery, Israel and Palestine
BARBOUR, John Humphrey
RAMC. Major. MiD 17/02/1915. French decorations. Shrewsbury School. QCB 1893. MB 1900, BCh, BAO. Lieutenant RAMC 29/01/1901, Captain 29/01/1904, Major 19/01/1913. Served South Africa 1901 – 02, Halifax, Nova Scotia 1903 – 05, India 1908 – 13, BEF France 1914 – 19. Son of Humphrey Barbour. Died 20/10/1944.
METCALFE, John Percival
RNVR. Lieutenant. 1941 – 46. Born 20/08/1905. Son of Arthur W Metcalfe, Hawthornden House, Knock, Belfast. Director Whitehouse Spinning Company. D 07/1964. Campbell College 1346
MISKIMMIN, John Crawford
RN. Seaman. J84473. Boy service from 22/01/1918. Enrolled 20/08/1918 for 12 years. War service in Powerful, Royal Sovereign and Carnarvon. Promoted to Acting Stoker First Class, see SS125145. Born Coleraine 20/08/1900. ADM 188/815/84473
RN. Stoker I. K27441. Enrolled 16/07/1915 for hostilities. Pembroke I, Iphigenia, Attentive II and Columbine. Demobbed 20/08/1919. Born Portaferry 26/04/1896. Corrock. Portaferry – PCI RH. ADM 188/921/27441
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