Raymond Sydney GREEN

Poppy

GREEN, Raymond Sydney

Service Number: 408110
Enlisted: 6 December 1940, Hobart, Tasmania
Last Rank: Flying Officer
Last Unit: Base Torpedo Unit (Nowra)
Born: Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, 15 May 1919
Home Town: Hobart, Tasmania
Schooling: Friends' School
Occupation: Bank clerk
Died: Accidental, Jervis Bay, New South Wales, Australia, Jervis Bay, Australia, 14 April 1943, aged 23 years
Cemetery: Nowra War Cemetery
Grave B. A. 3, Nowra War Cemetery, Nowra, New South Wales, Australia
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour
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World War 2 Service

6 Dec 1940: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Aircraftman, SN 408110, Hobart, Tasmania
6 Dec 1940: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Flying Officer, SN 408110
7 Dec 1940: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Aircraftman, SN 408110
14 Apr 1943: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Flying Officer, SN 408110, Base Torpedo Unit (Nowra)

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Biography contributed by Karen Standen

Raymond Sydney Green, known as Ray ‘Grassy’ Green to his RAAF colleagues, or ‘Jock’ to family and friends, was a Bank Clerk from Hobart, Tasmania. Born on the 15th May 1919, Ray was the only son of Sydney George James Green and Edith Emma Green.

Ray and his sister Gwendolyn, attended the Friends’ School in Hobart. A day and boarding school, founded by the Hobart Quakers in 1887. In 1938, Gwen’s marriage to John Rowland (/explore/people/796858), was featured in The Mercury newspaper along with a note of curiosity ‘that all the members of the bridal party, as well as the two ushers, were present or past scholars of the Friends’ School’. Ray proudly filling the roll of groomsman.

At the outbreak of World War Two, Ray had worked for the English, Scottish and Australian (ES&A) Bank in Hobart for four years. In June 1940, he applied to join the RAAF. Ray resigned from the Royal Australian Artillery (RAA) 106th Battery in Hobart, having served part-time for 18 months as a bombardier and attended Hobart’s No 6 Recruiting Centre to complete his medical and enrol in the RAAF Reserve. On Friday the 6th December 1940, Ray and 17 other Tasmanian RAAF recruits, took their oath in Hobart before proceeding to Victoria’s No 1 Initial Training School (1ITS) at Somers. After eight weeks of basic training, Ray returned to Tasmania to begin his flying training in Tiger Moth Biplanes, at Western Junction’s No 7 Elementary Flying Training School (7EFTS) near Launceston. Returning to Victoria to complete his flying instruction at Point Cook’s No 1 Service Flying Training School (1SFTS), Ray was awarded his Flying Badge on the 1st June 1941.

At the end of July, having served 235 days as an airman, Ray was granted a commission. He was then posted to RAAF Amberley’s No 3 Service Flying Training School (3SFTS), in Queensland for the remainder of the year. On New Year’s Day 1942 Ray posted into the No 1 Operational Training Unit (1OTU) located at Nhill in Victoria for a Hudson Conversion Course. This was followed by a course at the General Reconnaissance School (GRS) at Laverton on the outskirts of Melbourne. With this training completed, Ray joined 100 Squadron at the end of March 1942. Detailed to flying duties, Ray traversed the east coast of Australia several times and was operating from RAAF Laverton when he and Jean McLagan, announcement their engagement in the Hobart Mercury on the 25th July 1942. 

Ray flew into Milne Bay, New Guinea on the 5th September 1942. He spent the next six weeks flying between there and Cairns, and on at least two occasion flew torpedo attack missions on Japanese cruisers and shipping, before moving back to Bohle River near Townsville in Queensland. 

Arriving in Nowra NSW on the 20th November 1942, Ray joined the Base Torpedo Unit (/explore/units/1478) (BTU) as a flying instructor. Granted leave over Christmas, Ray returned to Tasmania. He again took leave during March 1943.

On the evening of Tuesday the 13th April 1943, Ray was assigned Beaufort A9-27 for the following days flying program. Experienced in formation flying, Ray was given the lead aircraft for Red Flight, which was to perform a number of torpedo demonstration flights for the accredited war correspondents and photographers visiting Jervis Bay. Flight Lieutenant Dey in Beaufort A9-268 was assigned the number two position and Flying Officer Geoffrey Rex “Barry” Schlank (/explore/people/510274) the number three position.   

As the program was drawing to a close, Red Flight was to finish with a low fly by off HMAS Burra-bra’s starboard before returning to base. Running over time, the ship had sailed past the original rendezvous point and as a result, the BTU Commanding Officer who was on board the ship, radioed the aircraft, instructing them to change their approach, and conclude with a Prince of Wales break up instead. A manoeuvre that hadn’t been practiced.

What transpired, was captured by Fox Films cameraman, Eric Bieve. The surviving 16 seconds of silent, black and white images show three Beaufort Bombers flying towards, then alongside the ship at 185 knots and just 50 feet above the water. As the flight commences the breakup, two of the planes clip each other and plummet into the bay, sinking in 100 feet of water. 

Ray’s body was recovered from the wreckage of Beaufort A9-27 by divers on the afternoon of the accident. His father Sydney, a fruiterer of Hobart, received the telegrams relaying the dreadful news. 

On Thursday the 15th April 1943, Flying Officer Raymond Sydney Green was buried with Full Air Force Honours in Grave B. A. 3. at the Nowra War Cemetery (/explore/cemeteries/3206), aged 23. Buried next to him on the same day were fellow crew members, WOAG Albert John Bailey (/explore/people/618701) and navigator Maurice Francis Hoban (/explore/people/632336). The last member of his crew and fellow Tasmanian, Eric William Sweetnam (/explore/people/649028) was buried beside them two days later. 

The crew of Beaufort A9-268, were never recovered. A burial at sea service was conducted for, pilot David George Dey (/explore/people/511977), acting observer Jack Norman (/explore/people/510692) (WAOG), wireless operator Rex Lindsay Solomon (/explore/people/647917) and turret gunner Hugh Sydney George Richardson (/explore/people/644801), at 1030 Sunday the 18th April 1943 on Jervis Bay.

In 1944, Ray’s parents presented a memorial board to the Friends’ School in the memory of their son Ray Green. Today a bronze plaque adorns the Friends’ School Hall and is dedicated to the “Memory of the Old Boys of this school who fell in the World War 1939-1945”, among the 29 names listed is R.S. Green.

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Biography

"...408110, Flying Officer Raymond Sydney Green, RAAF. FO Green enlisted at Hobart, Tas, on 6 December 1940 and later qualified as pilot. He was posted to Base Torpedo Unit, RAAF, at Nowra, NSW and was killed in an accident at Jervis Bay, NSW, on 14 April 1943 aged 23 years." - SOURCE (www.awm.gov.au)