PETGRAVE – Godfrey

The son of a Jamaican father and an Antiguan mother, Godfrey Petgrave enlisted in the RAF in Lagos as his father was working in Nigeria at the  time.

[Source: Audrey Dewjee, West-Indian Aircrew in East Yorkshire during WW2, the Africans in Yorkshire Project]

KNOX – Sydney

‘…had a distinguished service record as a spitfire pilot who volunteered and flew one glider mission into Holland.’

[Source: Mr. Nicholas Devaux, Trinidad]

JOHNSON – Basil Lawrence Ivan

Serial Number: 1396487
RAF Trade: Flight Engineer
Date of Enlistment: 1939

Rank Achieved: Warrant Officer
Operational Sorties:  3 Ops with 115 Squadron, 47 ops with 156 Squadron

On 31st August 1941, he left New Providence for England via Miami, New York and Halifax, Nova Scotia from where he sailed to England in a convoy of ships arriving at Liverpool on September 19th 1941.  He spent several days in London and then went to Readcar to be outfitted and spent thirteen months in training and studying.  He passed out as a mechanic and later remustered to fitters course and then to aircrew as a Flight Engineer Air Gunner.   

He first served with the 115 Squadron of Bomber Command and later with Group 8 of 156 Squadron of the elite Path Finder Force, Bomber Command stationed at Warboys Airfield in South West England.

After completing thirty-six operational flights in April 1944 he was recommended and received the prestigious award of the Distinguished Flying Medal (D.F.M.). 

 His Wing Commander in the citation described him –

He is a member of an outstanding Path Finder Force crew, and his resourcefulness and unfailing efficiency have contributed to the aircraft returning to base from raids during which the safety of the aircraft depended upon his knowledge and skill.

He is cool and unruffled under fire and his consistent skill and reliability under harassing circumstances have been inspiring to other members of the crew.

His high sense of devotion to duty made him well worth of the Award of Distinguished Flying Medal.”

[Source: http://www.156squadron.com/Crew_Johnson.html]

Read more about Mr. Johnson’s remarkable life and career at the wonderful website www.156squadron.com and here: http://www.voice-online.co.uk/article/highlighting-heroes-remembrance-day

Basil Johnson 1 Basil Johonson 2

MARTIN – Albert William

MARTIN, ALBERT WILLIAM Initials: A W Nationality: United Kingdom Rank: Warrant Officer Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve Unit Text: 307 (Polish) Sqdn.
Date of Death: 05/01/1945 Service No: 1390553 Additional information: Course 3, ATS, Trinidad, trained in Canada, Pilot, served 68 sqn jan-Dec 1944, when posted to 307 Sqn on 12/12/44.
Date: 05-JAN-1945. Type: de Havilland Mosquito NF.Mk.30. Operator: 307 (polish) Sqn RAF. Registration: MV545 Fatalities: Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2 Airplane damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair). Location: sea 10 miles SW of Valley, Anglesey – United Kingdom. Phase: En route Nature: Military Departure airport: Church Fenton. Crashed in sea in bad weather on night navex 10m SW of Valley 5.1.45 cause unknown. Crew: W/O (1390553) Albert William MARTIN (pilot) RAFVR – killed P/O (189.447) Donald Frederick PRIOR (obs) RAFVR – killed . Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 269. Memorial: RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL. Source cwgc, http://aviation-safety.net , Trinidad Guardian

SEIGLIE – Miguel ‘Mike’ Enciso

Miguel 'Mike' Enciso SeiglieEncisoSeiglieAircraft

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miguel ‘Mike’ Enciso Seiglie, better known as The Lord, received four medals (see below) and a personal honor from King George VI for participating in sinking the German cruiser Admiral Scheer in the port of Kiel, on the night of 9 April 1945.

In August 1942 Enciso departed from Cuba for Toronto and joined the Royal Canadian Air Force, where he graduated as a pilot. In January 1944 he arrived in Liverpool, England, receiving the rank of First Lieutenant with the RAF. He flew a Lancaster BX (built by Victory Aircraft in Ontario) in No. 1 Bomb Group and flew  missions over Berlin, Nuremberg, Kassel, Manheim and objectives in the Baltic Sea.

On 14 March, a Messerschmitt hit Enciso’s airplane 16 times. In his book ’9050 Horas’ former Cuban Air Force General Del Pino relates the story of Enciso: ‘The bombers flew in close formation to defend ourselves better … seconds later I felt the rattle of my gunner Mark’s machine gun. I recognized him immediately because he had the habit of firing in short bursts at intervals. He was not one to pull the trigger and not let loose, but was a professional with incredible equanimity.
The bomber flying to my right in the formation was hit by another Messerschmitt in one of the engines of the left wing. As we felt the explosion we saw one of the propellors come away from the engine and spin off. There was no doubt that this was the end of the aircraft. However, you always hope that the crew can bail out and survive as POW’s. We were close enough to see the Pilot and Copilot get up from their seats to leave the bomber, but the left wing broke off and the plane began to rotate uncontrollably along its longitudinal axis. Moments later another explosion disintegrated the plane completely. No one was spared.
Events unfolded rapidly and you do not have the time to coordinate well what you do. I flet a blow to the tail of our plane and I thought it might have been some fragment of the other bomber that had exploded. Mark called on the intercom and told me we were hit and that a piece of aluminum tail had embedded in our left side. I no longer heard the characteristic rattle of his firing, so I worried more about that. He said he was bleeding a lot an felt very weak.
We had already left the combat zone. The enemy fighters had withdrawn, but it was still a little more than an hour flight. I was constantly calling until I stopped listening about ten minutes before reaching the airfield. When we landed, Mark was dead, had bled to death.
But that was not the worst day, although we lost Mark. A week later, when we bombarded German troops near the city of Kasselnos we were attacked by Focke-Wulf Fw 190′s.
This time we did not lose anyone, but the impacts of cannonfire ripped all right landing gear and we had to make an emergency landing upon arrival at the airport. But this time my Tail Gunner shot down one of the German fighters.’

The account of the sinking of Admiral Scheer on April 9, 1945 as told by Mike Seiglie and published in the same book ’9050 Horas’ by General Del Pino: ‘We flew over the port of Kiel about 60 km north of Hamburg when we surprised a German naval grouping. The entire squadron went on the attack of the enemy ships. An infernal Flak barrier stood between us and the enemy… Derek, my Bomb Aimer, told me with astonishing calmness he would indicate the direction to launch the bombs …! “Four degrees to the right, one more degree, another degree, there, there, I have released the bombs… We hit it! We hit it!” he shouted euphoric.We saw several bombs explode on the German cruiser and a blaze lit up the whole sky. A couple of days later we heard we had sunk the cruiser Admiral Scheer. We continued on to Hamburg where we also surprised and attacked the submarines that were moored at the docks.’

[Courtesy Mehdi Schneyders, translation Hans Klootwijk]

On the night of 9 April 1945, a general RAF bombing raid by over 300 aircraft struck the harbor in Kiel. Admiral Scheer was hit by five Tallboy bombs and capsized.

[Source: wikipedia]

Medals and commendations: The British medal for Enlisted General Service (1939-1945), The medal Liberation of Germany, The French medal Star ‘for conspicuous value and service’ defending that nation, and the Voluntary Service medal from the Royal Canadian Armed Forces. Also he received a personal co-decoration from the King of England, King George VI, for single-handedly sinking a German battleship and thanking him for being a foreigner who risked his life fighting for Great Britain.

[Source: www.elgrancapitan.org]

LIND – Raymond

There is an Acting Flt. Lt. Raymond Lind in 1945 mentioned on Forces War Records website, but it is uncertain if this is the same person.

[Source: Caribbean Roll of Honour]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I notice from your website that there is an uncertainty about Ray Lind. I can confirm that he was indeed in the RAF during World War II, that he joined the RAF in 1942 from his home in Belize, British Honduras.

He was with 199 (Bomber Support) Squadron in 1944 . . .  mentioned in a book on the war-time squadron where Bomber Command launched an attack on Konigsbery and Settin on 29 August Ray Lind, pilot of Stirling aircraft LJ595 EX-N, section 1, part of a ‘windows’ diversionary raid. Also mentioned in October ’44 during the ‘Second Battle of the Rhur” again on a Diversionary Raid, dropping “Windows” around Brussels and continuing on to west of Frankfurt; return to their base at North Creake, Norfolk.

Ray rose from Flight Sergent, Flying Officer to Flight Lieutenant. He was awarded the DFC on 17th July, 1946. His service number I think is: 170076.

He died in Birchington, Kent on 10th July, 2017 age 99 years. (born 13-1-18)

[Source: pjpopple@gmail.com]

Attached photos:

Ray posed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Official Photo

Ray2 CREW

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ray with his aircrew

 

Ray & Duke1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ray with Duke of Edinburgh (out in south east Asia possibly Malaya)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MARCHAND – Chester

MARCHAND, CHESTER JOSEPH FRANCIS

Nationality: British Honduras
Rank: Flying Officer
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve Unit
Text: 7 Sqdn. Date of Death: 26/08/1944
Service No: 158046
Additional information: Of British Honduras.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial
Reference: Panel 207.
Memorial: RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL,UK.

[Source: Caribbean Roll of Honour]


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[Source: Unknown pulication, courtesy Nadia Cattouse via Audrey Dewjee]

 

THOMAS – Vivian

‘As far as I know my granddad was born in Christiana in the parish of Manchester in Jamaica and moved to the UK to serve with the RAF – I believe he lied about his age so he could enlist!

The exact details of his role during the war remain a bit of a mystery as he rarely spoke about it.  However there were hints that he was involved in searching for U-Boats’

[Source: Leon Thomas]

 

A group of colored RAF-officers. Front row, from left: [1] unknown, from Jamaica or Belize; [2] Dusty Miller, from Guyana; [3] S/L Corbett (liason); [4] Ulric Cross, from Trinidad; [5] Johnny Smythe, from Sierra Leone; [6] Mark Walker, from Trinidad; Second row from left: [1] E.A. Gordon from Jamaica; [4] Percy Messiah, from Trinidad; [5] possibly his brother C.A. Messiah from Trinidad; [6] Vivian Thomas from Manchester, Jamaica; [7] Jellicoe Scoon from Grenada. Third row from left: [1] E.R Braithwaite from Guyana? The rest are as yet unknown to us. We invite our visitors to share the names of any person they recognise. [Names courtesy P.L.U. Cross a.o.; Photograph courtesy Audrey Elcombe, copyright unknown - click to enlarge]

EGERTON-EVES – Charles


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Servicemen and women from the West Indies pictured in a BBC studio broadcasting messages home on the weekly overseas service, 19 October 1943. From left to right: Private Norma Marsh and Aircraftman Arthur Chin (both from Kingston, Jamaica); Private Nellie Forrester (from Montego Bay, Jamaica), Sapper Darnley Watts (of St Michael’s, Barbados); Nurse Vernice Lewis and Aircraftman Edwin Angus (both of Kingston, Jamaica); Pilot Officer Charles Egerton-Eves (of Stann Creek, British Honduras). On the far left of the photograph is Una Marson of the BBC.

[Source: Imperial War Museum]


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[Source: Unknown pulication, courtesy Nadia Cattouse via Audrey Dewjee]

 

PHILIPS – Harold Adolphus

Born Trinidad, 1929. Faked age to join RAF. Reported to have been pilot. Details of wartime career unknown.

Went back to Trinidad after the war but returned to Britain in 1948 on board Empire Windrush, toured UK with a calypso band in 1950′s as Lord Woodbine. Considered mentor and promotor of The Beatles around 1960.

[Picture: With the Beatles en route to Hamburg in 1960 during a stop at the Arnhem/Oosterbeek War Cemetery]

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