F/Lt WP Griffin MB BCh RAFO 23154
William Patrick Griffin joined the RAF in September 1933, granted a short service commission as a Flying Officer on the active list in the Medical Branch.
By September 1934 he had been promoted Flight Lieutenant in that Branch. In September 1936, Griffin had completed the minimum three years of service required for a Medical Branch SSC (KR & ACI para 326.4) and transferred to the Reserve in Class D (Medical Officers).
When war came to Europe, he resumed active service in the Medical Branch, Reserve of Air Force Officers. Some time late in 1940 or early in 1941 he was posted as Medical Officer to 211 Squadron (presumably after F/Lt Squire’s first long stint).
Shores, Cull & Malizia in Air War for Yugoslavia Greece and Crete record that it was F/Lt Griffin as 211 Squadron MO who greeted arriving JKRV aircraft at Paramythia on 14 and 15 April 1941, warning them to depart forthwith via Agrinion to Athens. The Squadron ORB (at this point, compiled only some weeks after the events) mentions him only briefly:
At this time, Doc Squire was also once more Medical Officer to 211 Squadron. He had rejoined them earlier in 1941 to replace the ill Squadron MO (unnamed by Squire but apparently Griffin, who seems to have remained with the Squadron for some time).
Griffin was thus the senior 211 Squadron officer present at Paramythia and in temporary command, when HM King Peter of Yugoslavia arrived with JKRV aircraft on 14 April. Details of the JKRV movements, the fruits of Aleksandr Ognjevik’s work, are recounted on CFR Clark’s page at that date.
And by that date, Harry Squire had been sent south to Agrinion to make preparations to receive the imminent withdrawal of 211 Squadron from Paramythia. There he himself greeted JKRV aircraft later on 15 April. So it came to be that the withdrawing JKRV men were greeted by both 211 Squadron MOs, Griffin at Paramythia and Squire at Agrinion!
A/Cdr JWB Grigson DSO DFC + 2 Bars was to take charge of the final RAF phase in this region. His Report on RAF Activities in the Peloponessus 22–29 April 1941 to HQ RAF ME described in terse detail the difficulties encountered by the RAF rearguard around Argos and Nauplia and their final evacuations by air and by sea. For their good work and devotion to duty during an intense period, Grigson named a handful of men, Griffin among them.
Nor was Griffin’s service to young King Peter forgotten, the award of a Yugoslav decoration being duly recorded in the official UK Government journal, the London Gazette:
Air Ministry 12th August 1941
AWARD OF A FOREIGN DECORATION.
ROYAL AIR FORCE
His Majesty The KING has granted unrestricted permission for the wearing of the undermentioned decoration conferred on the officer indicated in recognition of valuable services rendered in connection with the War:
CONFERRED BY HIS MAJESTY THE KING OF YUGOSLAVIA
Order of the White Eagle, 5th Class
Flight Lieutenant William Patrick GRIFFIN,
MB, BCh (23154), Reserve of Air Force Officers.
His RAF Medical Branch service continued with promotion to Squadron Leader in the Autumn of 1942
Supplement to the London Gazette 1 October 1942
Air Ministry, October, 1942
ROYAL AIR FORCE.
Reserve of Air Force Officers
The undermentioned promotions are made with effect from the dates stated:—
Flt Lts to be Sqn Ldrs (tempy) 1st Sept. 1942:—
WP GRIFFIN MB BCh (23154)
Promotion or no, ill health continued to dog Griffin such that in 1943, after 10 years service in peace and war he was invalided out, relinquishing his commission as Squadron Leader Griffin with honour:
SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE 7 DECEMBER 1943 p5342
Reserve of Air Force Officers
Flt. Lt. (temp. Sqn. Ldr.) W. P. GRIFFIN, MB BCh (23154) (on account of ill-health) retaining the rank of Sqn Ldr 22nd Nov 1943.
211 Squadron Operations Record Book RAF Form 540, Form 541 1940, 1941 AIR 27/1302
London Gazette issues 1934—1944
Grigson A/Cdr JWB Report on RAF Activities in the Peloponessus 22–29 April 1941 [3 May 1941 AIR 23/6371]
Shores, Cull & Malizia Air War for Yugoslavia Greece and Crete (Grub Street 1987)
Squire HF & D Middle East Scrapbook by RAFMO (Pentland 1997)
Wisdom T Wings Over Olympus (Allen & Unwin 1942)
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Site created 15 Apr 2001, last updated 12 Sep 2021. Page created 31 Jul 2017
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