Wilfred Green (RAF officer)

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Wilfrid Barratt Green
Born (1898-04-09)9 April 1898
Burslem, Staffordshire, England
Died 13 September 1947(1947-09-13) (aged 49)
Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Royal Air Force
Years of service 1917–1919
Rank Captain
Unit London Regiment (Artists' Rifles)
No. 32 Squadron RAF
Battles/wars World War I
 • Western Front
Awards Distinguished Flying Cross
Légion d'Honneur (France)
Croix de Guerre (France)

Captain Wilfrid Barratt Green[note 1] DFC (9 April 1898 – 13 September 1947[note 2]) was an English World War I flying ace credited with seven aerial victories.[2]

Biography[edit]

He was the second son of Thomas Seaman and Louisa Green of Burslem.[3] His father was a grocer, baker, and provision dealer,[4] who served as a member of the borough council, as a councillor for the East Ward, in 1906–1908.[5] His older brother Thomas Seaman Green (1895–1917), served as a lieutenant in No. 3 Squadron RFC and was killed in action near Heilly, on 13 February 1917, aged 22.[6][7][8]

Green enlisted into the 28th (County of London) Battalion of the London Regiment (Artists' Rifles) as a private (No. 765446) in 1917.[9][10][note 3] At this time the Artists' Rifles battalions were officer training units, which supplied 10,256 officers to other units over the course of the war.[12]

Green was transferred to the General List to be appointed a second lieutenant (on probation) in the Royal Flying Corps on 12 August 1917.[13] He was confirmed in his rank and appointed a flying officer on 15 October 1917.[14]

Green was assigned to No. 32 Squadron, flying the S.E.5a single-seat fighter. He gained his first aerial victory on 2 April 1918, the day after the Army's Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) were merged to form the Royal Air Force, by driving down a Pfalz D.III out of control north-east of Moreuil. Several weeks later, on 16 May he sent another Pfalz D.III down in flames over Fresnes.

On 9 June 1918, by then a lieutenant, he was appointed temporary captain,[15] and served as flight commander of "B" Flight.[16] July 1918 proved the high point of Green's combat career, driving down a Pfalz D.III over Dormans on the 15th, and a Fokker D.VII over Tréloup the next day. On 22 July he drove down another D.VII over Mont-Notre-Dame, and on the 25th another D.VII over Fismes. He gained his seventh and final victory on 23 August, destroying a Fokker D.VII east of Douai.[2] Green finally left No. 32 Squadron on 8 September 1918.[16]

On 29 November 1918 his award of the Distinguished Flying Cross was gazetted, the citation reading:

Lieutenant (Acting Captain) Wilfred Barrat Green
A bold and very gallant officer who has destroyed two enemy aeroplanes and driven down five out of control. He has also shown a fine offensive spirit in engaging ground targets during the recent battles, using his machine guns with great effect.[17]

On the same day he also received permission to wear the Croix de Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur awarded by France.[18] He also received the Croix de Guerre avec Palme from France. His permission to wear it was gazetted on 11 July 1919.[19]

In November 2014 it was announced that a street in the new Smithfield city centre business district of Stoke-on-Trent will be named after him, alongside others named after local men who served in the First World War.[1]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ This is the form of his name used in the military service records of the National Archives, but the London Gazette and other sources sometimes use Wilfrid and Barrat.
  2. ^ The Sentinel article gives 13 November as his date of death.[1]
  3. ^ The 760000 series of six digit service numbers were issued from January 1917.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Simpson, Matthew (13 November 2014). "Staffordshire's Great War heroes to be immortalised in street names". The Sentinel. Stoke-on-Trent. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "Wilfrid Barratt Green". The Aerodrome. 2015. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  3. ^ "No. 33770". The London Gazette. 10 November 1931. p. 7274. 
  4. ^ "The Nile Street Works, Burslem". Notes of the local history of Stoke-on-Trent, England. 2011. Retrieved 13 February 2015. From the 1907 Staffordshire Sentinel "Business Reference Guide to The Potteries, Newcastle & District" 
  5. ^ "Burslem Public Institutions, 1907". thepotteries.org. 2011. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  6. ^ "Casualty Details: Green, Thomas Seaman". Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Retrieved 29 July 2016. 
  7. ^ "War Memorials: Glos., Staffs., Cheshire, Derby & other counties". Great War Forum. 2015. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  8. ^ "War Memorial, Christ Church, Fenton, Staffordshire". Military Photos Website. 16 August 2010. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  9. ^ "Medal card of Green, Wilfred Barratt". The National Archives. 2015. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  10. ^ Highman, S. Stagoll (1922). The regimental roll of honour and war record of the Artists' Rifles (3rd ed.). London: Howlett & Son. p. 171. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  11. ^ Nixon, Paul (14 January 2009). "28th (County of London) Battalion, The London Regiment (Artists' Rifles)". Army Service Numbers 1881-1918. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  12. ^ Highman, S. Stagoll (1922). The regimental roll of honour and war record of the Artists' Rifles (3rd ed.). London, UK: Howlett & Son. p. xviii. Retrieved 29 July 2016. 
  13. ^ "No. 30279". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 September 1917. p. 9424. 
  14. ^ "No. 30367". The London Gazette (Supplement). 2 November 1917. p. 11436. 
  15. ^ "No. 30764". The London Gazette. 25 June 1918. p. 7487. 
  16. ^ a b "32 Squadron Pilots". No. 32 Squadron RFC/RAF 1918. 2011. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  17. ^ "No. 31046". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 November 1918. p. 14321. 
  18. ^ "No. 31042". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 November 1918. p. 14204. 
  19. ^ "No. 31457". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 July 1919. p. 8986.