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Group Captain David J. Green

Group Captain David J. Green OBE FCMI, 1923-2005

David enjoyed an exceptionally wide ranging and successful career in the Royal Air Force but the prompt for a lifetime in aviation came much earlier when as a young child in Axminster his parents took him for a day out to the Solent in 1931 to watch the Schneider Trophy races. He said many years later that this was his starting point.  In 2000 a correspondent asked about his career and he wrote these details:

"I started aged 18 (1940) when I volunteered for aircrew service and carried out my pilot training as a member of the first course to go to the USA (much to our surprise as the US was still neutral at that time).  Within four months I was back in the UK as a Sergeant Pilot, achieving my ambition to fly Spitfires. There followed a long and complicated story through the war (1941-1946) spent flying Hurricane night fighters (Desert Air Force), Spitfire fighter/ground attack in Italy and Yugoslavia and a 'rest' tour as a test pilot with 720 aircraft of many types in one year and 120 operational sorties. Then peace and the lean years with British European Airways on the ground heaving mail bags until 1948 when the RAF invited me back.  Spitfires again, in the UK and Hong Kong, then Vampires and Meteors.  On to instructing at Oxford University Air Squadron (Harvards and Chipmunks; to HQ Fighter Command (Bentley Priory); back to Vampires (instructing again) followed by a one off tour at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst; then promotion to Wing Commander to take over the RAF's largest squadron at that time, No 34 (Beverleys) in Singapore, Far East Air Force. Back to the UK to the College of Air Warfare before three years of imprisonment in the MOD as the Far East specialist planner then back to the College of Air Warfare ( directing staff).  Further promotion to Group Captain followed to become British Air Attache, Islamabad, Pakistan just in time for the Indo/Pakistan war ( 1971) and finally back home to command the RAF's School of Recruit Training at RAF, Swinderby, Lincolnshire.  After my retirement I became county director (Kent) for the British Red Cross before going to for a while Hong Kong to set up a Vietnamese Refugee Camp for 14,500 men, women and children.  After that I decided to 'do my own thing' so turned what had been a hobby (painting and drawing) into something more meaningful. I haven't turned my back on that activity but have extended my activities to writing.  But I still needed more with the result in 1983 I designed the Spitfire Society, launching it in 1984 and later turning it into a registered charity.

DJG December 2000

David was an accomplished artist and a member of the Guild of Aviation Artists.  Several of the originals of this series are exhibited in the art gallery of the RAF Museum at Hendon.  David's first book 'Spitfires Reborn', published in 1991,was an interesting and informative insight into the earlier years of Spitfires being rebuilt into flyable aircraft.  Before he was overtaken by illness he was working on an autobiography to be called 'Times Remembered'.  So far it is not known how far this work had reached but if it can be published it will undoubtedly make interesting reading.  The prototype Spitfire K5054 was damaged beyond repair in September 1939 on landing at Farnborough from a test flight.  In the 1984 the late Jeffrey Quill suggested that the Society should build a full size facsimile and with a group of ex Supermarine designers under the direction of Bill Williams the project was started Some 10 years later after many initial set backs it was unveiled by Jeffrey at Hendon.  It is now on permanent display in the Museum of Military Flying at Tangmere alongside one of its successors - A Spitfire MK V.  David Green passed away in the early hours of Tuesday 14 June 2005.