Fred Vivian Griffiths

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 10 March 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g1668
  1. Janet Fricker
  1. janet.fricker1{at}

London GP who flew Hurricanes and Spitfires in the second world war

Given the number of close shaves Fred Vivian Griffiths had as a Royal Air Force pilot in the second world war, it is remarkable that he survived unscathed to undergo medical revalidation at the age of 90. Flight Lieutenant Griffiths, known as Vivian, flew 44 sorties in Hurricanes over north west Europe, and then transferred to reconnaissance Spitfires, making 66 sorties over Japanese occupied Burma.

In a half page autobiographical note, Griffiths adopted a gung-ho approach to the “low level operations” across Europe where they “never returned without being shot up.” But his descriptions of his posting to the Burma front, where he joined the 615 Squadron Photographic Reconnaissance Unit, are altogether more taciturn. Here, flying single seater Spitfires out of Calcutta, he photographed the landing grounds for the Chindits Airborne Landing Force in northern Burma.

Griffiths’s oldest son, Charles, said, “Flying eight times over the target on a steady course to get good pictures would have required extremely strong …

View Full Text

Log in

Log in through your institution


* For online subscription