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      Vasileios VassiIiades of Michael  (1920-1945) from  Chios  and  Psara,  was a Greek   volunteer aviator in the British Royal Air Force (RAF) when World War II broke out. He rose through the ranks to become Flight Lieutenant of the RAF, was charged with 11 confirmed shot down, and was awarded with the DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross) και DFM (Distinguished Flying Medal) distinctions.


    He was born in  Rouen, France, but at an early age he found himself in Chios with his parents, Michael Vassiliades and Augustina Vassiliades- Braceille.  After finishing primary school in Chios, he studied at the Merchant Marine Academy of Hydra, to continue his family’s maritime tradition. 


    On the day World War II was declared, he was on board on a training trip in the Mediterranean.  Upon his return, his father sent him to England to study, where he was found fully involved with the war. Because of the great need for pilots at that time, he was offered an opportunity to serve in the RAF (October 13, 1942). He spent his first years as a Spitfire trainee, and in 1942, with the rank of Flight Sergeant, he was found in RAF squadron 19, one of the first Spitfires to fly in the Battle of Britain in 1940.

    He main missions were the attacks on occupied French and German bases in the Normandy and Brittany region. He scored 6 ½ shots, with which he earned his first distinction (26/7/444) and the rank of Pilot officer, flying the QV-D aircraft with serial number FB201.


    In 1944, he and his squadron were found supporting the first landing forces in Normandy (D-Day). In a mission against the bridges in the Seine south of Rouen, in order to cut off the retreat of the Germans (on the current A13 National Road that connects Normandy with Paris), he is was shot down by Mustang QV-V FB116 in the forested area of ​​Saint Pier Les Elbeufs. He will gather and find accommodation in the Jean Ozer family, who is taking part in the resistance. Thanks to Macy’s help, during his 15 days stay there, he will find his last chance to see his grandmother in the still-occupied Rouen.


    Soon, the first American troops arrive at his hiding place so he can return to his unit and a move to RAF’s No3 squadron follows. There, he will be under command of Flight Lieutenant Pierre Henri Clostermann, a volunteer of the Free French squadron in the RAF, who will later mention him in his book The Big Show (Le Grand Cirque), from which the existence of Vassiliades became known to the wider public.


    Close to the period of Christmas 1944, his unit is transferred to the liberated Netherlands, in Volkel, and is supplied with the new dynamic Hawker Tempest, whose role is to eliminate transport on German soil and to repel the flights of the new advanced Focke-Wulf fighters and the Me262 jets that fly from the German airports of Rheine and Gütersloh. During that time, he is charged with 5 more demolitions earning his second distinction and the rank of Flying Officer.


    On the 25th of March 1945, he commands a team as Flight Lieutenant in the Bocholt region (east of Munster) against a procession of military trucks. The extremely dense anti-aircraft fire makes the rest of the flights hesitant and he attacks in a chaos of fire to lead by example. The first time he overcomes their barrier unscathed but persists in a second attack. The rest of the pilots refuse him again. He will attack again, but his plane (Tempest, JF-A, EJ755) explodes this time in the air.

    The name of Vassiliades B.M as sculptured in column No 266 at the Commonwealth pilots memorial in Runnymede, Windsor - England.

    After the liberation of Greece, his father was visited by a British pilot (February 1945), who for the first time will bring him news about his son after many years. The initially joyful news follows the tragic news of his death. England engraved his name on the Commonwealth pilots memorial at Runnymede, near Windsor, as his body was never found to be buried. He is the Greek pilot with the most official crashes and whose name is commemorated on a non-Greek monument. His father named a liberty type truck owned by him, Lieutenant Vassiliades. A painting with Vassiliades in uniform is on the walls of the Merchant Marine Academy of Hydra, where he attended. (Phot.01)

    (Source: Wikipedia)

              Photographs from the Archive of the Merchant Marine Academy of Hydra – According to the information of that time, a relevant registration has been made for the death of Vasileios VASSILIADES in the Register of Students of the Academy