Betts, H F

  • Name on memorial: Betts, H F
  • Memorial panel: Centre
  • Full name: Betts, Henry Frederick
  • Rank: Leading Aircraftman
  • Service details: 548425, 30 Sqdn., Royal Air Force
  • Age at death: 34
  • Date of death: 20/05/1941
  • Birth place: Banbury
  • Parents: Frederick Charles and Rose Betts
  • Mother's maiden name: Gardner
  • Parents' marriage details: Banbury Sep-06
  • Wife: unknown
  • Wife's maiden name: unknown
  • Marriage details: unknown
  • Additional information:
    On 20th May 1941, 30 Squadron were stationed at Maleme in Crete. Maleme is best known as a landing site for German paratroopers invading Crete in 1941, at the start of the Battle of Crete (Operation Mercury) during World War II. The paratroopers captured the airstrip that was located just outside the town. Once captured, this airstrip allowed the Germans to airlift in the reinforcements needed to capture the rest of the island. Many of the paratroopers lost their lives in the attack and are buried in the German war cemetery.
    At Maleme there is an Royal Air Force (RAF) Memorial to the airmen of 30 and 33 Squadrons who died during the battle.
    H F Betts is commemorated on this memorial as well as at Alamein.
    During the attack on Maleme aerodrome by (German) parachute troops Leading Aircraftmen Betts and Darch (Norman John Darch, 30 Squadron) drove the ambulance across the aerodrome in the face of very heavy fire in response to an urgent call to rescue wounded from the gun positions on the perimeter of the aerodrome. Leading Aircraftman Darch received two bullet wounds in the back, but both airmen carried on and brought the wounded safely to the sick quarters. They showed a complete disregard for their own safety in carrying out their duties.

    LAC Betts was recommended for the Military Medal with LAC Darch was killed on 20th May 1941 and received a mention in dispatches (London Gazette 1st January 1943).
    Many thanks to the members of WW2 Talk for this information.

    Click here for a larger image

    Above is a close-up of the 30 Squadron section of the Maleme Memorial, Crete.

If you have any corrections or further information to add, please get in touch.

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