W/O. G.K.E. Martin, DFC RAAF 609 Sqn Evader

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by brithm, Jan 5, 2013.

  1. brithm

    brithm Senior Member

  2. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    Flying Officer MARTIN, GEORGE KINGSLEY EDWARD DFC s/no 14221 of 609 (WR) SQN

    Have you read either his pers file or casualty file at the NAA? There is also a court martial file from 1941, but that hasn't been digitised - most of the info is summarised on his pers file anyway.

    His service number indicates that he enlisted as a non-aircrew recruit and he must have applied for pilot training sometime later.

    I am just starting to read his files myself to see what info they contain.



    His casualty file has a letter from his CO predicting that he would have been able to evade capture and make his way back to allied territory - big call, but he was proved correct.

    (I am fascinated after reading his disciplinary record that he was able to get approval for aircrew training)
    brithm likes this.
  3. brithm

    brithm Senior Member

    Hi Dave,

    Thank you for the great information, I did not know he was court martialled or even that you were able to look at a pilot’s personal and casualty file.

    I have just read George Bell’s Book TO LIVE AMONG HEROES: A Medical Officer's Dramatic Insight into the Operational Life of 609 Squadron in NW Europe 1944-45 which he refers to W/O. Martin's being shot down on D-Day.

    after success and not a pilot lost. We never knew at the time that we were only one of 171 squadrons deployed that day to fly over 1,000 sorties but I doubt if anyone in 609 would have cared about the other 170. Then in the final mission of the day [D-Day], fortunes changed. Warrant Officer George Martin of the Royal Australian Air Force was shot down. I never knew him as well as some of the other pilots. He was a fairly silent 'that's my business' bloke. His fellow Australians Gibson and Merret were grim-faced when they told me that George had baled out quickly and his parachute opened very close to the ground . . . enemy ground which they had been in the process of attacking. George Martin survived and had quite a story to tell as you will discover later.

    p. 22 Chapter 4 Gird Up Your Loins

    As I mentioned earlier, Warrant Officer George Martin, the Australian pilot who was shot down on D-Day had a story to tell and how we heard that story was fairly dramatic too. By this time everyone thought that George was probably dead. One sunny afternoon however a staff car drew up and George Martin stepped out. He had some difficulty in doing so as he was on crutches and his leg and ankle were encased in plaster. Gibson, Merret and Bavington, his fellow Australians, were overjoyed to see him. George was on his way home.(p.41)
    There was general excitement because all this activity was taking place just outside the officers' mess. There was a lot of talking and as other colleagues came up and joined in the chaos, they each asked him what had happened. His story stopped and started, sometimes at different episodes but what resulted after his crash was dangerous, exciting and exhibited so much of his character.

    This is that story which was later told to me by Flight Lieutenant Gibson. George Martin's 'chute had deployed about 200 feet from the ground but it was very hostile ground to be dropping into. He had been in the group of Typhoons that had just hammered an SS unit and they were able to follow him down quite easily. He had quickly unstrapped the parachute harness and made for cover in the furthest hedgerow he could see. Several angry Germans of the SS unit he had just mauled opened fire into the hedges as they stumbled on his parachute.

    Their firing kept on for several minutes and they must have been sure that they had killed him. They didn't wait around and a call from one of their NCOs hurried them away from the scene. They had stopped just a few yards from where George lay in agony from a shattered ankle caused by their gunfire. When things got really quiet he looked around but with such a serious injury there wasn't much he could do.

    He managed to crawl to some nearby houses and was given shelter. The French resistance group in the area quickly sorted out his alibi to allow him to stay in the farmhouse where he was being sheltered. The identity papers which they produced, showed that he was a deaf mute who wasn't quite 'all there' and that he made a living from basket weaving. He had supposedly been injured in Caen and had been evacuated to his friends in St Pierre des Ips, a small village south west of Caen. Nothing that happened to George was ever simple and straightforward. Disaster threatened the whole charade when two Gestapo agents took residence in the same farmhouse.

    They were naturally suspicious of everyone and sure enough the Gestapo agents caught out a Canadian pilot who was also being sheltered and without hesitation they shot him as George looked on. They were not quite so sure of George but he kept up the pretence of the silent, querulous deaf mute. Gibby said that part would be easy for him, and he escaped the fate of the Canadian. His benefactors had warned him that he must always be aware that if confronted by the German patrols, they would test out his deafness in a variety of ways.

    Sure enough, the two 'men in black' had one last attempt on George's cover and as one stood in front of him the other fired his pistol behind him. He never blinked and the agents went on their way. Soon afterwards the Americans started to push into the German lines and George was handed over to them. He was taken to hospital where he spent a week getting his gunshot wound cleaned up before his visit to us at B7 and his return home.(p.42)

    Chapter 5 That very Slender Foothold In Europe

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  4. alieneyes

    alieneyes Senior Member

    Hi brithm,

    Go to Homepage – National Archives of Australia and use "14221" in the search function. That will take you both his A9300 Personnel file and the A705 Casualty repat file for his loss.

    Is the Canadian airman in your above quote named?


    brithm likes this.
  5. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    "Thank you for the great information, I did not know he was court martialled or even that you were able to look at a pilot’s personal and casualty file"

    Sorry Brithm - one of my worst habits is to presume that people already know everything I do.

    Follow the advice provided by Alieneyes for how to access his files.

    Basically once files for any Aussie service personnel have been handed across from the Defence Department to the care of the National Archives they become open access (subject to vetting for intensely personal info).

    If a file hasn't already been digitised then anyone, anywhere in the world can pony up the handful of pesoes and get it done - it only takes a couple of weeks for it to appear on the site.


    brithm likes this.
  6. brithm

    brithm Senior Member

    Thanks guys for your help, so is his personal and casualty file been digitised?

    Search & Retrieve - Session timed out

    The author of the book was George Bell who was the Squadron Medical Officer of 609 Squadron and he was recounting Martin's return.

    I was surprised to see that Martin is not listed in any of the MI9 or IS9 records with a report of his evasion on the Conscript Heroes website but I did find some information in Clutton-Brock's book RAF Evaders Martin:

    Name: Martin
    Intials: G.K.E.
    Rank: W/O.
    Nationality: A14221
    Squadron: 609
    Aircraft: MN697
    Type: Typhoon
    Date: 6/6/44
    Duty/ Target: Anti-Tank
    Where: France
    To: Fr
    Left for UK: -
    UK: -
    Where in: NK
    WO 208: NF
    Comments: Broken Leg. Wounded by gunfire on ground.
    With 2/Lt. G.I. Tripp USAAF. Commissioned DFC (17/11/44)

  7. alieneyes

    alieneyes Senior Member

    NF in Oliver's book means "Not Found" which doesn't necessarily mean he didn't file one. In the 70s we hear stories of some of these reports being pinched at Kew.

    Yes, both his RAAF files are digitized. When you get to each one on the site click on the icon that looks like a sheet of paper and another window will open.


  8. brithm

    brithm Senior Member

  9. gls66

    gls66 New Member


    I know you had asked for this info a long time ago now, but I just came across your post. George Martin was my grandfather. The story recounted in the book is what he had also told us growing up.

    He was shot down on D Day over France, parachuted out, got shot in the leg. He crawled to a nearby river and passed out. Some French children found him and brought back help. He was hidden in a French farmhouse which then became occupied by the Germans. He posed as a deaf and dumb basket weaver and was finally liberated by the allies 3 months later.

    He met my grandmother in England - she was one of the first radar plotters in the WAF. Both her and her sister were dating pilots who were both shot down on the same day. Unfortunately, Buck (a Canadian pilot) was killed. My grandfather,however, was MIA for 3 months and Nan didn't know if he was dead or not.

    I don't know if you know this, but in the 70's (I think - might have been the 80's), the registration plate of Pop's plane was found by a French farmer. The French spent 9 years searching for Pop and the daughter of the people who had hidden him came to Australia to present him with a plaque and they had a big ceremony at the Richmond Air Base.

    I didn't know he had been court martialled - do you know what that was for? I know he was a bit of a larriken which is why he was never promoted higher then Flt Lt.

    May I ask why you were interested in him?? I can send you a photo if you like - let me know.


    brithm likes this.
  10. spidge


    Hi Georgia,

    I collect Headstone and Memorial photos of the 11,400 Australians who died in the RAAF and other Allied Air Forces during ww2 and are buried or memorialised in 70 countries.

    My interest therefore is for those who died however I would love to see some photo's of your Grandfather.

    For your interest according to my records, these were the five Australians who were killed with 609sqdn RAF.

    CURCHIN, JOHN (DFC) Flight Lieutenant 42396 609sq 4/06/1941 Unknown Royal Air Force UK Panel 29. RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL UK Surrey

    RUSSELL , IAN BEDFORD NESBITT (DFC) Flying Officer 37869 609sq 1/06/1940 Unknown Royal Air Force United Kingdom Panel 6. RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL UK Surrey

    SMITH, STANLEY EDGAR Warrant Officer 417018 609sq 23/04/1945 23 Royal Australian Air Force Australian Plot 1. Row 2. Grave 8. NIEUW-SCHEEMDA PROTESTANT CHURCHYARD Netherlands Groningen

    GIBSON, RAYMOND KENNEDY (DFC) Flight Lieutenant 414482 609sq RAF 14/02/1945 24 Royal Australian Air Force Australian 2. D. 16. REICHSWALD FOREST WAR CEMETERY Germany Kleve, Nordrhein-Westfalen

    RENDALL, MARCUS HARRY GALLION Flying Officer 421689 609sq RAF 13/04/1945 25 Royal Australian Air Force Australian 1. I. 5. UDEN WAR CEMETERY Netherlands Noord-Brabant


    brithm likes this.
  11. snapper35

    snapper35 Member

    14221 Flying Officer George Edward Kingsley Martin DFC

    An Australian Warrant Officer, Martin joined 609 at Manston on 14th July 1943 from No.55 OTU. On 26th September 1943 he was responsible for succesfully directing an Air Sea Rescue launch to Charles Demoulin, who had baled out with no dinghy. On D-Day, 6th June 1944, George was flying Typhoon MN697 on operation Serial No.103, attacking enemy transports southwest of Caen. Hit by flak he baled out at 21:40 hrs, breaking his leg through contact with the Typhoon’s tailplane in the process. Evading the searching German troops, he swam a canal and ‘holed up’. He was found the next morning by a French priest who moved him on a donkey cart to a barn. For two months George was nursed by Madame Le Poutlika and Stephen Chyet, of St. Pierre des Ips. They provided papers showing that he was a deaf and dumb basket weaver who had been injured during the Allied bombing of Caen. During the Allied advance British troops found George in a local hospital and returned him to 609 Squadron. He was described as ‘Tough, Strong and Quarrelsome!’.

    I have another I can't find, George sitting amongst other 609 pilots at Itteringham Mill in Norfolk while stationed at Matlaske where he's on the left of the group by the Typhoon. The close up is outside dispersal at Manston.


  12. snapper35

    snapper35 Member

    Oh yes I can...


    6th. From now on the Squadron has to be at Readiness at first light and early calls were put in for 03:45 but the first show does not come along until 12:05 when F/Lt Roberts leads 4 A/C on TAF 4 Radar Installations at Le Havre, when strikes were seen on Box and edge of Coastwatcher. Serial 89 at 17:10 hours the CO 8 A/C to attack enemy transport stationary on road East of Lisieux. They claimed 2 tanks Destroyed and 2 Damaged, 3 MET Probably Destroyed and 2 Damaged, 1 AFV Destroyed and 1 car Damaged. At 20:40 hours F/Lt Roberts took 8 A/C on Serial 103 when enemy transport SW of Caen were dealt with, Claims 1 ART Destroyed, 2 AMC Damaged and 2 AMC Destroyed. W/O Martin was hit by Flak and was seen to bale out and land in a field. F/O Gibson was also hit by flak. Today we welcome back to the Squadron F/O Jaspis to swell the Belgian Flight.
    brithm likes this.
  13. bristolfreighter

    bristolfreighter New Member

  14. bristolfreighter

    bristolfreighter New Member

    G'day Georgia,
    I used to fly with George in the sixties and can even remember his address in Cronulla (I think that it was 10 Restomel st.) and even still have a small transistor radio from a heap we bought in Port Moresby, lots and lots he brought back unbeknown to customs probably because he didn't want to burden them with paperwork and collecting money and that sort of thing. He was a bit of a scoundrel at times but a good mate and one had to get him fairly well oiled to get him to speak of getting shot down. I have just retired at age 75 after fifty five years of earning a living in aeroplanes and put my longevity as an aviator down to George and others who survived for they taught me my trade and taught it well. take care, Bill M
  15. Georgia

    Georgia Member

    Hi Bill - I haven't been on here for a few years so it was nice to see your post was quite recent. Yes, Pop was quite a character and I can only begin to imagine the things he got up to. He did indeed live in Restormal St for several years and then they moved to the Blue Mountains for a while and then to QLD where we were living (I am his eldest Grandchild). He passed away from cancer on 6 June 1995 - 5o years to the day when he was shot down.
  16. Georgia

    Georgia Member

  17. Asb62

    Asb62 Member

  18. Asb62

    Asb62 Member


    I came across this forum and these posts yesterday whilst researching your grandfathers story. His story is fascinating. He must have been a real character.

    I was in Normandy last week and came across a panel from a Hawker Typhoon. The serial number stencilled on the inside confirmed it was from your grandfathers Typhoon.

    I was interested in you story of the French farmer finding the serial plate of your grandfathers plane as I wondered where this panel may have been for all of these years. Would you have any information about the farmer?

    Would you be able to send me photo of the serial plate that was presented to your grandfather?


  19. Georgia

    Georgia Member

    Hi Andy
    My brother has the plaque, so I'll ask him to take a photo.I think I have a newspaper article about the presentation, so will have a look when I get home. I have been trying to upload some photos but keep getting an error, so not sure what I'm doing wrong!
  20. Georgia

    Georgia Member

    Hi Andy - as I mentioned, I am having trouble loading photos onto this site, so I can't show the plaque (until I get help) but I will write below what it has written on it. It is a wooden plaque in the shape of France with a marker showing Lisieux (where he was shot down). It has the actual original serial tag of the plane mounted on it as well as a plate with a brief description as follows:
    "FLTLT G Martin DFC was shot down during the Normandy Landing and was hidden for four weeks by MME Lepetoukha until liberated by the advancing allies. The identification plate of the Typhoon aircraft was recovered in 1980 at LA GOULA FRIERE, ST PIERRE DES GFS - LISIEUX and presented to Capt R Arundel (RAN) and his wife Soizik by Monsieur R Marie, brother of MME Lepetoukha"
    The plaque was then presented to my Grandfather in Dec 1980 at Richmond Airbase NSW, and Soizik Arundel was there as well.
    The markings on the actual plate read:
    F: 44617
    BG/S: 4/4296
    Makers No: 1296
    My Aunt (George's youngest and only remaining child) would like to view the panel in Normandy when she travels overseas later this year. Do you have some information on which facility this is housed please? Regards, Georgia

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