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Godefroy, Hugh Constant

Date of birth:
October 28th, 1919 (Java, Dutch-East Indies)
Date of death:
April 3rd, 2002 (Myrtle Beach/South-Carolina, United States)
Nationality:
Dutch (1815-present, Kingdom)

Biography

Hugh Godefroy was born in the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia) on 28 October 1919. His father was a Dutch mining engineer and married to Permilla Maude McLachlin, a Canadian. In 1925 the Godefroys moved to Canada and at the start of WWII Hugh was a student at university. A turning point came when he learned of the death of his girlfriend. The ship she was traveling on was torpedoed by a German submarine, which made Hugh decide to join the RCAF to fight the Germans.
After completing flight training in Canada, Godefroy was shipped to the UK where he joined No. 56 OTU at Suttonbridge, together with Poles, Czechs, Free French and Americans. In the spring of 1941 Godefroy arrived to start operational duty in 11 Group, No. 401 Squadron RCAF at Digby. This squadron, equipped with the Hawker Hurricane, was tasked with defense of the UK, with occasional offensive actions over France. In September 1941 the Squadron received the Spitfire Mk V and shortly afterwards the sqadron was moved to Biggin Hill. Although Hugh had flown anumber of operational sorties he was still considered a 'sprog' (greenhorn) by the veterans, having claimed no aerial victories. It seemed as if all his skills were needed just to stay out of the sights of Bf 109s and Fw 190s.
In 1942 Hugh was transferred to the Air Fighting Development Unit (AFDU) at Duxford. Initially he regarded his transition to a test unit as a demotion. But he learned to appreciate his new posting when he had the time to improve his deflection shooting and experiment with new escort tactics.
Near the end of 1942 Godefroy asked for and got a posting at No. 403 Squadron RCAF. Shortly thereafter, he made his firstkill: a Fw 190. In June of 1943 he was promoted to Squadron Leader. After some more kills he was promoted to Commander of 127 Wing.
In April 1944 Godefroy's second tour of duty ended. He received the DSO and became a staff officer to the Head Quarters of Air Vice Marshall Sir Harry Broadhurst, advising in tactical and personal affairs. He still flew frequently, but not in combat operations. On one of his flights during this period, the engine of his Spitfire stopped and he bailed out over the English Channel. He was rescued, and he spent some time recuperating in a hospital. The resigned and went back to Canada. By the summer of 1944 his war was over. He finished his studies, became physician and lived in Hudson, Quebec.
Hugh Godefroy, the only Dutch ace with seven confirmed victories, published his memories in 1983, called "Lucky Thirteen".

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Acting Flight Lieutenant
Unit:
No. 403 (City of Calgary) Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force
Awarded on:
March 25th, 1943
Action:
Recommendation:
"Flight Lieutenant Godefroy has throughout his operational career shown a singular degree of keenness to engage the enemy. Since becoming a flight commander, he has been an efficient leader and has given confidence to all by his exceptional ability to spot enemy aircraft. This officer has completed 78 hours of his second operational tour; he has carried out a total of 66 sorties over enemy territory, destroyed two enemy aircraft, damaged two others and has shared in the damaging of three railway locomotives."
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Acting Squadron Leader
Unit:
No. 403 (City of Calgary) Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force
Awarded on:
September 3rd, 1943
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
Action:
Citation:
"Since being awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in May 1943, Squadron Leader Godefroy has continued to display great courage and devotion to duty. He has recently been appointed to command his squadron which, under his leadership, has destroyed ten enemy aircraft and assisted in the destruction of another. Four of his victories have been since he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross."
Details:
Second DFC awarded as a bar foron the ribbon of the first DFC.
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Acting Wing Commander
Unit:
No.127 Wing, Royal Air Force
Awarded on:
April 14th, 1944
Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
Action:
Citation:
"Since being awarded a Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross, this officer has completed many further sorties despite adverse weather. The wing under his leadership has destroyed at least twenty-eight enemy aircraft and damaged many others. He has himself personally destroyed at least one enemy aircraft. During that period, at all times, Wing Commander Godefroy has displayed outstanding leadership and a fine fighting spirit setting an example of the highest order."

Sources