View Full Version : S/L George Eric Clifford, GENDERS, AFC, DFM

9th February 2022, 13:36
GENDERS, George Eric Clifford, S/L, AFC, DFM

From a Spink Auction catalogue, 1979

A rare Group of Seven Awarded to Fighter Ace and Test Pilot, Squadron Leader G.E.C. Genders:

(a) Air Force Cross, G.VI.R., 2nd type, reverse officially dated 1949
(b) Distinguished Flying Medal, G.VI.R. (Sgt)
(c) 1939-45 Star
(d) Africa Star
(e) Defence Medal
(f) 1939-45 War Medal with M.I.D. oakleaf
(g) Air Efficiency Award, G.VI.R. (Flt.Lt. R.A.F.V.R.) very fine and better
(h) Three Pilot’s Flying Log Books. 1941-1950 together with a quantity of original letters, photographs and newspaper cuttings.

A.F.C. London Gazette 1.1.49. ‘Flight Lieutenant, D.F.M.’

D.F.M. London Gazette 7.4.42. Sergeant George Eric Clifford Genders, No. 33 Squadron. The recommendation states:

This airman has taken part in operations over Greece, Crete and the Western Desert with great courage and determination. In the course of these operations, he has destroyed at least 7 enemy aircraft and damaged seven others. He has set an excellent example to the junior pilots of his Squadron’ (33 Squadron.)

Squadron Leader George Eric Clifford Genders entered the Royal Air Force on the outbreak of the Second World War and gained his pilots wings, August 1940; he joined 33 Squadron as a Sergeant, February 1941, after serving in the first Libyan campaign; the following month, he was posted to Greece with the Squadron operating in Hurricanes.

Greece and Crete

He shot down a BF109 and damaged another during a strafing attack, 14th April and on the 23rd, he shot down another BF109 and three Ju87s; the Squadron then fell back to Crete; during the battle for the island, he probably destroyed two Ju88s and damaged two more. ‘About 24 Ju88s approached Crete. I intercepted 9 of them, shooting t 4. Two Ju88s disappeared through the clouds seemingly out of control’ 3rd May (log book); the Squadron returned to the Western Desert where it re-formed.

The Western Desert

During a ‘dog-fight’, he shot down 2 Fiat G50s, 17th June and on 22nd November, he shared a Savoia SM79 and damaged a Ju88. He was posted to 53 RSU, March, 1942 and in May was posted to 103 MU at Aboukir Depot (Pilot Officer).

Combat in the Stratosphere

The ability of the Ju86P, the German long range reconnaissance aircraft, to operate in the stratosphere had been known for some time; flying at heights of around 50,000 feet with a pressurized cabin, and cruising leisurely at 200 m.p.h., it was possible for the enemy to easily get away with photographs of the highest strategic value.

Genders and two other pilots received official approval to attempt an interception, they stripped down two Spitfire Vs and armed them with only two 0.5 machine-guns; on 26th June, Genders and Pilot Officer Gold closed on a ‘bandit’ at 37,000 feet and fired all their shells – ‘no hits observed’ but on the following day after a dog-fight at an incredible 45,000 feet (true) over the Mediterranean, they damaged two Ju86Ps; many ‘scrambles’ later on the 6th September, Genders and Gold intercepted a Ju86P at 40,500 feet and sent it down out of control; Genders ran out of fuel and attempted to glide to base but was forced to bale out about forty miles from land into the sea; he swam and floated for over twenty-one miles before reaching the Egyptian Coast (Mesheil), and then walked to his base at Aboukir; he successfully intercepted and badly damaged another Ju88 at 19,000 feet, 21st October, later information confirmed the aircraft crash landed behind its own lines; by this time. Genders had destroyed nine enemy aircraft and probably destroyed or damaged a number of others.

The test pilot

During his service with the Maintenance Unit from May, 1941, Genders had flown a considerable number of aircraft including some captured enemy machines, but his experience as a test pilot was required and he was recalled to England, May, 1942. He was appointed production test pilot at Airspeeds, 1945 and in January of the following year attended the Empire Test Pilot’s School at Cranfield, was test pilot at the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough from 1947.

Squadron Leader Genders was killed near Basingstoke, May, 1950 whilst piloting the last de Havilland ‘Flying Wing’, the aircraft used for research in the development of the Comet airliner.

See also http://thetartanterror.blogspot.com/2009/04/sqn-ldr-gec-eric-genders-afc-dfm-1920.html.