France to honour fallen Barbados RAF pilot George Inniss in May 2011 – Looking for relatives, photos

Updated: February 4, 2011

70th Anniversary of the death of a young Bajan pilot

Someone in Barbados must have a photo of George Harold Frederick INNISS

Let’s help France remember a young Bajan who died so far from home.

On February 4, 1941 Royal Air Force Pilot Officer George Inniss of 106 Squadron lifted off from Funningley in his Hampden bomber on a mission to mine the coast of France near St-Nazaire. With him were Flying Officer William THOMAS, Sergeant Jack FRANCO and Sergeant Frederick COLSON.

Inniss was just 24 years old, born in Barbados. His crew mates were as young as 18. They all died that night when their aircraft was shot down and crashed near St.Pète-en-Retz between St.Nazaire and Nantes, Loire-et-Atlantique, France. Inniss and his friends are buried in the Pont-du-Cens Communal Cemetery.

The French town is planning a commemoration in May of 2011 to remember George Inniss, his crew and some other young men whose aircraft crashed nearby.

Photos of crew members William THOMAS and Frederick COLSON

Here is a website showing photos of crew member Frederick Colson and the graves in 1946.

We received the following email from Jonathan Ives who is assisting the town in finding relatives and photos. How about it folks? Let’s do what we can to help France remember a young Bajan who died so far from his home.

Dear Barbados Free Press,

I wonder if you can help. I’m trying to trace the family of an airman from Barbados who was killed in France in 1941. The Town in France where his Bomber crashed is planning a commemoration in May of 2011, and I am helping them to trace living relations to invite.

His name is :

Name: INNISS, GEORGE HAROLD FREDERICK
Initials: G H F
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Pilot Officer (Pilot)
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force
Unit Text: 106 Sqdn.
Age: 24
Date of Death: 04/02/1941
Service No: 43036
Additional information: Son of Charles H. Inniss and Caroline Inniss, of Barbados. Arts Graduate of Durham University.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial
Reference: Plot L. Row A. Grave 15.

I had made initial contact through a family history website with his niece in Barbados, Valerie Gittens who also lives in Barbados, but have not heard from her in more than 9 months.

I know there was another famous Barbadian airmen named Wing Commander, Aubrey Inniss, DFC who was celebrated on the National Postage Stamps, but I don’t believe he was related to George.

If we can trace the families we can a) invite them to the commemoration and b) Get some biographical information and perhaps a picture, to add to the dedication website here:

http://www.absa39-45.com/Pertes%20Bretagne/Loire%20Atlantique/4%20fevrier%2041/Hampden-AD750.html

Best wishes,

Jonathan Ives      jonathan.ives (at) gmail.com

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18 Comments

Filed under Aviation, Barbados, History, Military

18 responses to “France to honour fallen Barbados RAF pilot George Inniss in May 2011 – Looking for relatives, photos

  1. John

    Here is a site with photos of the second contingent of aircrew coming from Barbados.

    The group photo is of 12 men who went in November 1940.

    Erroll Barrow was a member of this contingent.

    Six of the twelve did not survive the war and are buried in various parts of the world.

    See Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

    INNISS, GEORGE HAROLD FREDERICK is not present in this group photo.

    He was either a member of the first contingent which left in July 1940 or subsequent to the second group.

    Barbadians, however, were also present in England at the outbreak of war in 1939 and joined up before the Battle of Britain in 1940 and before the call went out for replacements.

    Perhaps he did so too.

    One such Barbadian I am told was Winston Kitchener (Pony) Hynam.

    http://www.caribbeanaircrew-ww2.com/?cat=4&paged=3

    Many Barbadian young women also joined up went to serve as members of the WAAFs.

    The Museum has pictures of these women.

  2. John, I have tears in my eyes now, thanks for helping me find my Uncle

    Ian D. Bourne – Pilot Officer – Pilot – Spitfire X – POW

    Son of Bertram H. Bourne (from Trinidad?) – educated QRC – volunteered ETS – trained at Piarco 2nd in class – flying a PRU Spitfire from Benson – first operational flight – reported missing July 1942 – POW – Joined regular RAF post-war, killed 26 July 1953, Squadron Leader, flying Gloster Meteor

  3. John

    You are welcome Ian.

    PRU means photo reconnaissance unit.

    Spitfire variants were specially modified and sometimes stripped of guns to achieve speeds, endurance and maneuverability capable of evading interception by the enemy.

    Cameras were added to allow photographs to be taken deep behind enemy lines for later analysis by experts.

    Usually there is a perspex window just behind the pilot at eye level for the camera to see what the pilot looked at in a banking turn.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/65/a3607265.shtml

    The Gloster Meteor was the first allied Jet fighter to see action in the second world war.

  4. John

    Ian

    Here is a paper on Photo Reconnaissance during the second World War.

    A bit stuffy but if you are interested in the work done by the PRU and its link to Scientific Intelligence, it seems to be good.

    PDF] Journal 10 – Seminar – Photo-Recce in WWII – PROCEEDINGS OFTHE …File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat
    Weaver, Chief Intelligence Officer at the PRU and Benson … Professor R V Jones. He was our first speaker at the launch of the Royal Air …
    http://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/…/Journal%2010%20-%20Seminar%20-%20Photo-Recce%20in%20WWII.pdf – Similar

  5. John Robertson

    I notice above that Ian Bourne is quoted as being killed in a Meteor crash on 26th July 1953. I cannot find that a Meteor crashed on that date and I cannot find a reference to Ian being killed in a Meteor. Am I missing something? Can the person posting this information check their sources or would you like me to do so?

  6. You can check, but I know it’s true and was posted at blogsite “C’bean Aircrew who served in RAF,” maybe the plane is wrong but my uncle died that date

  7. Many thanks for posting the original article following my e-mail. I’m also delighted that it has started a thread about other airmen. Regarding Ian Bourne, you might try http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/index.php, I have received a lot of help from this forum in the past regarding RAF records and history.

    Best wishes

    Jonathan Ives

  8. The man wiv no name!!

    i wonder if they’d honour him, if he’d been black!

  9. Jonathan

    I was the original poster and am involved with this project

    @ The man wiv no name!!
    These men are all heroes and should be commemorated and honoured . period. We do not know anything about GEORGE HAROLD FREDERICK INNISS. My limited researches have revealed that Inniss is a popular Barbados last name , irrespective of colour of skin. I would just like to know more about him, even just a picture, like these Barbadian heroes:

    http://www.caribbeanaircrew-ww2.com/?cat=4&paged=3

  10. The man wiv no name!!

    Jonathan, im sure that u would. however, im more concerned with the French’s vituperatiave attitude towards race today, which i consider to be more relevant!

  11. The man wiv no name!!

    on second thoughts, i forgive the French everything n, why? cos they know how to keep the Muslims in check, unlike d simpleton Bajans!

  12. Straight talk

    @ John:

    If you can get hold of Professor Jones’ “My Secret War” to realise the fantastic extent to which he, and his academic and technical colleagues played in winning the war, you would find it a worthwhile read..

  13. John

    Thanks Straighttalk

    I agree, a fascinating read.

    The first aerial survey of Barbados was undertaken in 1950/51 no doubt using technology that came out of the second world war and specifically developed to process the photos the photo reconnaissance spitfires and later mosquitoes brought back of enemy territory.

  14. John

    The man wiv no name!!
    February 5, 2011 at 9:47 am
    i wonder if they’d honour him, if he’d been black!
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Here is some footage, some of it computer generated with interviews with some of the pilots describing their experiences in dogfights over Europe.

    Youtube has some good clips on dogfights from both the European and Pacific theatre during the second world war.

  15. The man wiv no name!!

    Thanks John, but I’ve probably seen them already, on the telly plus, I’m really far more concerned with the present and the future!

  16. John

    Very often the past helps in understanding the present and guessing at the future.

  17. Jonathan

    good news, we now have scanned images on the web site for George inniss , RAF, here :

    http://www.absa39-45.com/Pertes%20Bretagne/Loire%20Atlantique/4%20fevrier%2041/INNISS.htm

    many thanks for all the support

    best wishes

    Jonathan

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