Flight Sergeant Albert Ernest Greening MM

In September 1944, RAF Regiment Squadrons had disembarked in Normandy and were moving against Antwerp, Eindoven and Volkel. September brought hard winter weather condtions that suited the German defenders. Victory in Europe was still far from certain, by September the Germans had begun to launch the powerful V2 rockets to very great effect from around the Leopold Canal area.

Flight Sergeant Albert Greening MM
Flight Sergeant Albert Greening, recipient of the Military Medal.

On the 21 of September, the 3″ mortars of 2816 Rifle Sqn at the request of Canadian 3rd Infantry Division were brought into action at Moerkerke to oppose the enemy in the line. FS Greening manned a forward Observation Post (OP) in a cottage 200m from the canal. Almost immediately he brought about effective fire onto the German positions. He continued to harass and destroy the enemy, preventing their freedom of movement, this was met with great cheer from the Canadians who “jumped for joy and were full of praise for our shooting”.

Flight Sergeant (FS) Greening was part of 2816 Rifle Squadron, together with 2757 Armoured Squadron who formed 1313 Wing “Bow Force” one of many Units brigaded as part of Op SWITCHBACK. They were tasked to capture and exploit the V2 rocket sites.

The Mortar Flight, during 15 days of almost continual action, fired 2003 High Explosive and 200 smoke bombs. FS Greening was awarded the Military Medal for his skilful handling of the mortar detatchments, often directing fire from an OP in close proximity to the enemy lines, whilst under continual fire from enemy mortars and snipers.

From the Citation for the award of the Military Medal to 519679 Flight Sergeant Albert Ernest Greening, Royal Air Force Regiment:

For about 14 days this non-commissioned officer was a Detachment Commander in a 3-inch mortar flight located in Moerkerke and close to the enemy lines. The detachment was under continual fire from enemy mortars and snipers and was subjected to periodical shelling. On one occasion the church tower at Moerkerke, from which Flight Sergeant Greening was observing, was hit and set on fire, but he completed the shoot and escaped from his observation post. The accuracy of the fire he directed undoubtedly caused the enemy to lose the initiative in an area where our own positions were very thinly held. The offensive spirit and good shooting of Flight Sergeant Greening’s detachment successfully discouraged the enemy from preparing for a series of local attacks.

London Gazette – 9 February 1945
The Military Medal
The Military Medal