Pilot Officer Alexander William Valentine Green (78082) served with Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve during World War Two. He flew with Royal Air Force 235 Squadron at the time of his death in 1940.
Born on 14th February 1919 in Rathmore, Lurgan, Co. Armagh, he was the son of Alexander Green and Marjory Green. He attended Lurgan College from 1st September 1927 – February 1929. In 1929, Green left to go to Campbell College, Belfast, Co. Antrim. Around this time, his parents moved to Windsor Avenue in the city.
Green joins the RAF
In June 1939, Green joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve as an Observer while training to become a pilot. He completed training at 4 BGS West Freugh, joining 235 Squadron at North Coates on 19th March 1940.
While serving with RAF 235 Squadron, Pilot Officer Green took part in the Battle of Britain campaign. Green was on board Bristol Blenheim Bomber IV-F L9396 LA-E shot down around 1730hrs on Wednesday 11th September 1940. He was 21 years old.
Pilot Officer Alexander “Bill” Green, a young Ulsterman, was the first observer to join the squadron. He had a shy and retiring disposition, yet Bill had developed into a cool, fearless and impeccable observer. He flapped continuously on the ground, but this subsided immediately he was airborne. He was remarkably keen and was pursuing his ambition to become a pilot.
RAF 235 Squadron Diary.
Crash of Blenheim L9396
Blenheim L9396 took off from a base in Southern England. The mission; to escort Fleet Air Arm 826 Squadron Fairey Albacore torpedo bombers on a raid on a convoy off Calais, France.
Pilot CP Wickings-Smith spotted a Messerschmitt attacking Albacore L7114 M. While pursuing the enemy, the Blenheim came under attack from around two dozen yellow-nosed BF109s of I/JG52 and III/JG53 ascending from Pas de Calais. Anti-aircraft guns fired from ground level.
An air battle raged across two miles of the sky off the coast of Calais between heights of 1,000 and 8,000 feet. “Little” Watts fired the five Browning guns on board the Blenheim as a Messerschmitt filled the gun-sights. The enemy plane banked away as the Blenheim came under fire. Others heard Green and Watts shout over the radio. Wickings-Smith continued to give chase.
Firing until the end
Sergeant Watts continued to fire and engage the enemy until the plane plunged into the sea. With L9396 3,500 feet below, Sergeant George Southorn watched as it fought until the last. The Blenheim continued to absorb enemy fire, rounds flashing past Green and Watts. The cockpit tore apart, dashboard instruments falling from the wreckage. Both Green and Wickings-Smith were motionless. Fuel poured from both engines, catching fire as the plane descended towards the English Channel. As it sank below, the saved Albacore L7114 dipped a wing.
Had it not been for the magnificent support given to the Albacores by 235 Squadron it is extremely doubtful whether any of our aircraft would have returned as the enemy were in greatly superior numbers, and there was little cloud cover to take advantage of.
Lieutenant Commander William Saunders DSC.
Remembering Alexander William Valentine Green
Pilot Officer Peter Claude Wickings-Smith, Pilot Officer Alexander William Valentine Green, Sergeant Reginald Douglas Haig Watts were declared missing, believed killed in action. Alexander William Valentine Green has no known grave. His name is on Panel 8 of the Runnymede Memorial. His name also features on the World War Two Memorial at Lurgan College, Craigavon, Co. Armagh although there it is written AWB Green.