William James Green was born in Bristol on 23rd April 1917 and attended St. Gabriel’s School. He left at 14 and worked in a cardboard box factory before joining 501 Squadron, Auxiliary Air Force at Bristol in December 1936 as an AC2 u/t Fitter (Aero Engines).
In October 1938 a scheme was set up for the Auxiliary Air Force to train its own NCO pilots, Green applied and was accepted. He became an LAC u/t Pilot and was partly trained when he was called to full-time service on 24th August 1939.
Green was posted to 5 EFTS Hanworth in October 1939, where he did 50 hours on Magisters. In March 1940 he went to 3 FTS South Cerney, flying 110 hours on Harts on intermediate and advanced training. Promoted to Corporal when awarded his flying badge, he was made Sergeant on completion of the course.
He rejoined 501 Squadron in mid-July 1940. Having bypassed an OTU he was entirely without Hurricane experience and taught himself to fly on while on the squadron, he was taken officially on the strength of 501 on 20th August. Four days later Green crashed at Hawkinge after being hit by our own anti-aircraft guns during combat with Ju88’s and Me109’s attacking Manston. On the 29th he was shot down by Me109’s and baled out at 16000 feet, falling to some 300 feet above the ground before his parachute opened properly. The pilot-chute cords had been severed by cannon-shell splinters. Green was rescued from the sea off Folkestone while his Hurricane P4223 crashed near Hawkinge.
He was posted to 504 Squadron at Filton in November 1940. He went to 4 FIS Cambridge in March 1941 for a course, after which he instructed at 10 EFTS Locking and 3 EFTS Shellingford. Green was commissioned from Warrant Officer in October 1942. He was posted to 5 FTS Cranwell in June 1943 to instruct on Masters, in November he went to 39 OTU Tealing to instruct on Spitfires.
Excerpt from Interview with Battle of Britain Hurricane pilot Bill Green, flimed during research for the Fighting High book series www.fightinghigh.com
From March 1944 he was at 1682 DTD Enstone, operating Tomahawks. In preparation for a return to operations Green went to 3 TEU Aston Down in October for conversion to Typhoons. He then flew Tempests at Thorney Island before joining 56 Squadron at Volkel in November. On 22nd February 1945 he was attacked by two Allied fighters over Germany but evaded them only to be shot down near Osnabruck by intense anti-aircraft fire. Green bailed out and was captured. His prison camp near Nuremberg was soon evacuated and the PoWs marched south to Stalag 7A, a large camp at Moosburg near Munich.
On 29th April the US Seventh Army liberated the camp and within two weeks Green was back in England. He was released from the RAF in December and received the Air Efficiency Award. He joined the RAFVR in June 1947 and instructed at 6 RFS Sywell until July 1953.
Green returned to the cardboard box industry, in 1960 he joined Reed International, rising to the position of chairman. In June 2012, aged 95, he flew in a two-seat Spitfire from Goodwood airfield.
Green died on 7th November 2014.
Credits to http://bbm.org.uk