RCAF No 412 (Falcon) Squadron Spitfire photographs
Spitfire LFIX RCAF 412Sqn VZ-S Griffin James Young MK576 shot down by flak France Aug 13th 1944.
Spitfire Database: MK576 LFIX CBAF M66 33MU 19-3-44 412S 22-6-44 CAC ops 29-6-44 Hit by flak on sweep FTR 13-8-44 W/O G J Young killed - Thought to have been shot by the Gestapo as a PoW
Spitfire MkIXe RCAF 412Sqn VZH at B80 Volkel Holland IWM CL1451
A Supermarine Spitfire Mark IXE of No. 412 Squadron RCAF, armed with a 250-lb GP bomb under each wing, taxies out for a sortie at B80/Volkel, Holland. A member of the ground crew is seated on the starboard wing to help the pilot to negotiate potholes, flooding and other obstructions on the airfield.
Imperial War Museum IWM CL 1451 https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205211680
Spitfire MkIXE RCAF 412Sqn VZW taxing at B108 Rheine Germany 1945 IWM MH6849
Supermarine Spitfire Mark IXEs of No 412 Squadron RCAF line up for take off at B108/Rheine, Germany.
Imperial War Museum IWM MH 6849 https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205207966
Date: Thu, 2 Feb 2012 17:04:35 +0800 Hi Matthew; I would like to thank you for creating this page. You have done a terrific job! Here are some more pics.
Here is a transcript of the statement given by Charles Knabe and received by the Young family June 28 1945.
In the matter of an inquiry conducted by Supreme Allied Expeditionary Forces into atrocities committed by the Germans.
In the matter of the shooting of 5 Allied prisoners of war at Les Hogues near Perriers-sur-Andelle, on 25th August 1944.
1. Charles Knabe of 39, Capital, Levallois-Perret, near Paris Merchant, make Oath and say as follows: 1. I live at Levallois-Perret, but I also have a small country house at the village of Les Hogues, near Perrier-sur-Andelle, Eure, and during the period hereinafter referred to I spent most of my time there.
2. The Germans established an Allied Prison of War camp at the Chateau of Lemoine at Les Hogues, and on the 20th day of August, 1944, 90 Allied prisoners arrived at this camp. On the 25th day of August, another 24 prisoners arrived there.
3. I knew a German Corporal named Lambert Maier, who had to do with the guarding of the prisoners. He was an Anti -Nazi and he told me that he desired to escape with the prisoners. Prior to the 25th August 1944, I made arrangements with him for 10 prisoners to escape on that day.
At about 1700 hours on 25th August 1944, in collaboration with Corporal Lambert Maier, I got 5 prisoners away from the camp and I hid them in the woods at Les Hogues. They had been supplied with arms and ammunition by Corporal Lambert Maier, and I supplied them with food which I took to them twice daily.
The five prisoners were in the woods for five days as on the 30th August 1944, the American troops arrived in the district and on the 31st August 1944, the prisoners joined the Allied troops as also did Corporal Lambert Maier.
One of the escaped prisoners was a South African, who gave his name as follows:
18635 Michael Mokhantse
Pehong School, P.O. Mapfontien
Via Mataliele, South Afica.
I do not know the names of the other prisoners of war who escaped.
4. I was informed by Michael Mokhantse, that the reason why the remaining five prisoners did not escape as arranged was that at about 1600 hours, on 25th August 1944, a German Officer of the S.S. named Gunterman S.L.O. 228, came to the camp and ordered the five prisoners, who consisted of 1 American, 3 English, and 1 Canadian, to set off in a lorry. The order was given in French and the prisoners did not understand it. The SS Officer Gunterman, then hit one of the prisoners (a Major) between the eyes and caused some bleeding, and took out his revolver and killed all the prisoners, except one, in the grounds of the camp. At the same time he killed a German sentry who was there.
The remaining prisoner was shot dead on the road just outside the camp. The five prisoners and the German sentry were buried in a common grave in the garden of the camp at Les Hogues with their identity discs on them. Michael Mokhantse knows the names of the prisoners who were shot.
5. A few days before the escape of the five prisoners, referred to in a paragraph 3 hereof, I was acting as a guide to a party of 3 of these same prisoners with Corporal Lambert Maier, as their escort. They had gone 3 kms. away from the camp to get some bread. On the road they were stopped by an S.S. Officer in his car. The S.S. Officer got out of his car and taking out his revolver threatened to shoot the prisoners. Corporal Lambert Maier then saved the lives of the prisoners by threatening the German Officer with his rifle, saying that he was in charge of the prisoners and it was his duty to see them safely returned to the camp.
Sworn in the city of Paris,this 18th day of October 1944.
Footnote added by Griffin Pink
The names of the prisoners massacred are as follows;
G.J Young, Canadian. Martin, English. Clark, English. Unknown, English. (bullet went through identity disc destroying it) Bryant, American. Bryant has since been exhumed and returned to the U.S. The rest are interned at Les Hogues Communal Cemetery France.
What a great website you have about 412 Sqdn. I realize that a lot of the great pilots met their demise at the hands of the Luftwaffe. The one pilot that stands out in my mind is P/O Griffin Young who was shot down in Spit VZ S by flak on Aug. 13 1944 near Vassy. He bailed out and later at a French Chateau and was murdered by a rogue SS officer along with an American and British POWs. I have the whole story of this atrocity because I was named after him.
I have true documentation sent to his parents from the Frenchman that tried to save him. P/O Griffin was 4 hrs from freedom when he met his fate from being murdered. I have the name of the SS officer who did it and he was supposed to go to trial in Paris. The outcome of the trial I have been searching for years with no success.
If you would like me to send you the whole story as documented by those who were there it would give me great satisfaction. I believe that this whole story should be told.
As far as I know P/O Griffin Young was the only pilot from 412 Sqdn to be shot as a POW. Please feel free to contact me if you would like this information.
Please go to the Official 1C Company forum http://forum.1cpublishing.eu/
Griffin Young murdered by an unknown SS Gestapo officer whilst a POW
Name: YOUNG, GRIFFIN JAMES
Initials: G J
Rank: Pilot Officer (Pilot)
Regiment/Service: Royal Canadian Air Force
Unit Text: 412 Sqdn.
Date of Death: 25/08/1944
Service No: J/88753
Additional information: Son of James Lewis Young and Annie Elizabeth Young, of Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Coll. grave 439 C.
Cemetery: LES HOGUES COMMUNAL CEMETERY
Flight Lieutenant T. H. Floyd, RCAF chaplain at Trenton, delivered a card to Mr. and Mrs. James Lewis Young from the Minister of National Defence for Air, the Hon. John Gibson. The nicely printed card said, "This commemorates the gratitude of the Government and people of Canada for the life of a brave man freely given in the service of his Country: Pilot Officer Griffin James Young, RCAF. His name will ever be held in proud remembrance."
The signature was dated Aug. 25, 1944, and according to the annotation was delivered on Feb. 9, 1945. A letter from Air Commodore D. E. MacKell dated the next day confirmed what Floyd had reported and noted that "statements and evidence appear to definitely establish that the death of your son was caused by atrocities of the German Gestapo." MacKell concluded, "May the same spirit which prompted your son to offer his life give you courage."
The family had received a telegram from the RCAF Casualties Officer, Aug. 18, which read: "M9805 REGRET TO ADVISE THAT YOUR SON R EIGHT FIVE EIGHT FIVE FIVE WARRANT OFFICER FIRST CLASS GRIFFIN JAMES YOUNG IS REPORTED MISSING AFTER AIR OPERATIONS OVERSEAS AUGUST THIRTEENTH STOP LETTER FOLLOWS."
In that letter, dated Aug. 26, the RCAF reported that Young was "the sole occupant of an aircraft which took off on an armed reconnaissance flight." He radioed that he had been hit by anti-aircraft fire and he "baled out safely approximately two miles south west of Vassey, France." The Squadron Leader for No. 412 Squadron, RCAF Overseas, added some details on Aug. 25. He noted that "'Griff' was very popular among his fellow pilots and admired for his keenness and ability as a fighter pilot." A pilot flying in the same mission had seen Griffin Young safely land on the ground. The family was notified in November 1944 that their son had been promoted to Pilot Officer effective Aug. 12, 1944; at that time he was still considered missing and the officer extended sympathy "in this trying time." Air Marshall Robert Leckie, Chief of the Air Staff, signed a certificate, 8 May 1945, posthumously awarding Pilot Officer Griffin James Young the Operational Wings of the Royal Canadian Air Force.
The Examiner, on Feb. 15, 1945, had a neat collage on Griffin Young with pictures of him singing in the choir, of him sitting on a rock at a picnic on the shore of Lake Erie, of him and his sister in the summer of 1940, and of him in England with Sgt. Pilot John Arundel, a Peterborough friend who also died in the war.
The family has an exceptionally fine photo album scrapbook, with handcrafted wooden covers, which was lent to the rector of St. John's Church, Archdeacon Gordon Finney. The photographs trace the life of Griffin Young from a babe in arms to a proud pilot. He is seen with his parents, his cousins, his friends, his brother, Gordon, and his three sisters, Isabel, Enid and Violet. The Youngs lived at 141 Rubidge Street, in the block south of Knox United Church, and some pictures are from that neighborhood.
An undated news clipping, headlined "Only the Brave Can Join" resonated with Griffin's parents. It was a letter from FO Alfred Hall to his mother, Mrs C. A. Hall, written after Alfred's brother had been reported missing in action. A quote gives the spirit of the letter. "We are proud and very glad that we had a mother and a father who taught us unselfishly to risk our lives to maintain what we were always taught to believe...We know it (the risk), but we still fly and always will."
The Youngs attended St. John's Anglican Church, where Griffin Young was a member of the choir. In 1929, members of the choir competed at the Canadian National Exhibition, and Griffin Young, then 13, won a bronze medal. The scrapbook contains photos shot behind the vestry wing of St. John's Church, and the choir, led by the accomplished Fred Mann, had 16 boys, quite a respectable number. Some of the pictures show him on an outing in Stratford with his best friends from that choir, Roy Pitchford and Albert (last name not given). The choir won the shield for first prize in Stratford. These two shields are in the parish archives of St. John's Anglican Church. For one of the pictures of a trip to Stratford his mom noted "The five chums in back row. Griffin, Alf, Albert, Walter and Roy." Snapshots of the St. John's Bible class show the five chums and five ladies enjoying food events at the church.
St. John's Church had an active young people's group, the Anglican Young People's Association, that among other things put on plays. There is a delightful picture of the cast for the St. John's Annual Minstrels and One Act Play, Feb. 3, 1937. There are several photos in and around the collegiate. The 1935 COSSA champion rugby football team at the Peterborough Collegiate Institute had the popular half back Griffin Young wearing sweater No. 8. There are group pictures and other casual shots taken at PCI, from which he graduated in 1936. Griffin Young was a smoker, but in all the shots he seems very happy and outgoing, enjoying the friendship of boys and girls. Some pictures show outings along the Trent Canal.
The album scrapbook documents Griffin Young's military career. His parents went to the Air Training School at Dunnville in 1942 when then Sergeant Pilot Griffin Young won his wings. Before he enlisted, Young worked at E. L. Payne's drug store. Payne's drug store was on the northeast corner of Simcoe and George, in a splendid 1860s building built for George A. Cox. One photo was shot in front of Smith & Freeman's Barbers, at 144 Simcoe St., just a few doors east of the drug store. A news clipping reports that "the gang at Payne's corner where he used to work" gave Sgt. Pilot Griffin Young a sendoff as he left for active service. The event was staged in Smith and Freeman's barber shop. "Jack Smith presented the flier with a purse of money, along with a one dollar bill which all autographed. Those present were Police Sgt. Gordon Puffer, Jack Smith, Harold Freeman, Herb McCannan, Ernie Payne, Louis Loftus, Myer Levine and Stoney Stoneburg." There is a picture of the new air force recruits, probably at Dunnville, standing at ease on the parade square. In fact, there are several formal group pictures, both inside and out, showing the ability of the air force to recruit airmen at this time. The military and family photos are intermingled.
Griffin Young sent a cheery letter "from somewhere in North Africa." He suffered an attack of appendicitis and was pulled to an "airdrome in tents" to recover. He reports enjoying making his own meals and expected his own Christmas meal would be "either stewed meat or meat stew."
Young was shot down over France Aug. 13, 1944, and on Aug. 25, only 12 days later, the prison where he was kept was the scene of a massacre. As the Nazis retreated along the western front, they sent the Gestapo to shoot white prisoners, and abduct Arab and black prisoners for menial work. Griffin was the only Canadian in the prison, but the story of the atrocities was reported by an American prisoner who had managed to hide during the massacre. On Aug. 25, the Allies entered Paris.
Young's grave is in a cemetery at St. Honorine, near Les Hogues, France, in Normandy not too distant from the D-Day landing, June 6, 1944. A brass tablet commemorating the life of Griffin Young is on the wall at St John's Church. Canon Robertson, the rector at the church, remembered Young as well-liked and active in church activities. He also recounted how the pilot had been killed in a German POW camp.
Good scrapbooks and photo albums which carry useful identifications and dated news clippings are useful ways to preserve family history. However, this story is much better than that. We see Griffin Young as someone integrated into the local history of community, in his case defined by Rubidge Street, Payne's corner and St. John's Anglican Church. It is also fascinating to see how thoroughly the military and government officials expressed their gratitude and condolences for a grievous family loss in the face of a bigger picture.
I was struck even more by the diversity of personal experience in the context of a large war with large armies, navies and air forces. In war, people are more apt to die in action or in a hospital, and so it was shocking to see Young die in a massacre.
Magazine References: +
- Airfix Magazines (English) - http://www.airfix.com/
- Avions (French) - http://www.aerostories.org/~aerobiblio/rubrique10.html
- FlyPast (English) - http://www.flypast.com/
- Flugzeug Publikations GmbH (German) - http://vdmedien.com/flugzeug-publikations-gmbh-hersteller_verlag-vdm-heinz-nickel-33.html
- Flugzeug Classic (German) - http://www.flugzeugclassic.de/
- Klassiker (German) - http://shop.flugrevue.de/abo/klassiker-der-luftfahrt
- Le Fana de L'Aviation (French) - http://boutique.editions-lariviere.fr/site/abonnement-le-fana-de-l-aviation-626-4-6.html
- Le Fana de L'Aviation (French) - http://www.pdfmagazines.org/tags/Le+Fana+De+L+Aviation/
- Osprey (English) - http://www.ospreypublishing.com/
- Revi Magazines (Czech) - http://www.revi.cz/
Web References: +
- History of RAF Organisation: http://www.rafweb.org
- History of RAAF: http://www.airpages.ru/eng/ot/raaf_01.shtml
- Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/
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