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The Airmen's Stories - S/Ldr. G D Garvin


George Desmond Garvin was born on 4th April 1916 in Belfast and joined the RAF in July 1934. He was posted to 3 FTS Grantham on 29th September and joined 70 (Bomber Transport) Squadron at Hinaidi, Iraq on 9th November 1935, under instruction.

Back in the UK Garvin was posted to 215 Squadron at Driffield on 4th June 1936.

Garvin joined 264 Squadron at Kirton-in-Lindsey on 8th August 1940. He took command on the 24th when the CO, S/Ldr. PA Hunter, was killed. On this day he claimed two Ju88s destroyed.

Four days later Garvin was shot down in flames and baled out, with minor injuries. His gunner, F/Lt. RCV Ash, baled out but was killed. Their Defiant, L7021, crashed in flames on Luddenham Marsh, Faversham.

Garvin was posted away from 264 on 8th December 1940. He formed and then commanded 154 Squadron at Fowlmere from 17th November 1941 until the end of the year.

In the Belfast Telegraph of 11th August 1942 it was announced that he had become engaged to Helen Whitelaw Rondeboch of Cape Province, South Africa.

His subsequent service is currently incompletely documented but in mid-1942 he was SASO, HQ No. 211 Group. He later attended the RAF Staff College Haifa in early 1945, going on to the Directorate of Administrative Plans and ending the war as Senior Personnel Staff Officer, AHQ Iraq.

There must be a Greek connection as he was awarded the Gold Cross of the Royal Order of George I (the citation saying 'Conferred by his Majesty The King of the Hellenes') on 10th January 1947.

He stayed in the RAF postwar, retiring on 28th June 1961 as a Group Captain, retaining the rank of Air Commodore.

Garvin was made a CBE (gazetted 13th June 1957).

He died on 12th December 1991 in Portugal.


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