FARFAN, Fernand William


rank: F/L
status: survived
airforce: RAF    (no: 157691 )
born: 1921-08-29 Montserrat Trinidad

added by: Paul Sandford

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Served with 123, 601, 602, 41 squadrons. Awarded Belgian Croix de Guerre. Shot down over Crete and escaped and evaded to make it back to Egypt, defended Malta during the siege, and supported the D-Day Landings and all the way to the invasion of Germany and the end of the war.

41 Squadron
Name FARFAN, Fernand William 'Fanny'
Number 157691
Rank Flying Officer, Flight Lieutenant
Nationality Trinidad
Born Montserrat, Trinidad, British West Indies, 29 August 1921
Arrived 24 March 1945
Departed 25 September 1945
Decorations Belgian Knight in the Order of Leopold (1947), Belgian Croix de Guerre (1947)
Notes Farfan's full surname was 'Farfan de los Godos', but he appears to have dropped 'de los Godos' whilst with the RAF and 41 Sqn records have him listed as 'Farfan' only; returned home, Oct 1945; relinquished commission April 1949, retaining Flt Lt


Fernand William “Fanny” Farfan was born in Trinidad and joined the RAF in 1941. Training initially at Piarco in Trinidad he gained his wings in 1942 and travelled to England.

Joining 601 Squadron in March he was one of the pilots on Operation Calendar transferring to Malta. On the crowded flight deck of USS Wasp on 20 April, as the Spitfires prepared to take off, one of the deck hands stepped in to his propellor and was killed. Farfan was allowed only to stop the engine to check for propellor damage before being sent on his way. His C/O was quoted as saying that Farfan was never the same again.

There are limited records of operations on Malta. On 10 May he claimed a Cant Z1007bis probably destroyed, Spitfire serial unknown.

In June it was decided that Egypt needed Spitfires more than Malta and so some 601 Squadron pilots and Spitfires were flown to Aboukir. Some pilots flew directly in Spitfires (including BR363) and some pilots were flown as spare bods in other aircraft. There is only a partial record of who arrived when, other than the CO.

After the move from Malta 601 started operations on 1 July. He flew with 601 until August, claiming one enemy A/C damaged on 14 July. He crashed BR363 on 21-08-1942 in a landing accident described in the ORB as an error of judgement.

On 1 October he joined 80 Squadron flying Hurricanes before moving to 123 Squadron. 123 spent the winter based in Persia, initially without any planes but slowly being supplied with Hurricanes. His first entry in the ORB is another accident at Abadan on 7 December. When 123 moved to Egypt in May 1943 they were given a small number of Spitfires for high level interceptions, including BR363 which Fanny was to fly again.

On 23 July 1943 he was shot down in a Hurricane over Crete during Operation Thesis. He made his way back to Egypt, presumably via the resistance and SOE. The ORB entry for 17 September says “F/S Farfan pays us a visit and were we glad to see him!! He managed to escape capture when he came down in Crete. He would not give us any other details.” Presumably he was not allowed to and he did not re-join 123.

Commissioned in 1943 he ended the year as a flying instructor in the UK before joining 602 Squadron and then 41 Squadron flying Spitfires over NW Europe and taking part in 41’s last operation of the war.

Returning to Trinidad he became the first pilot of the re-born British West Indies Airways and was joined by his brother Esmond who had served in the RAF as a Lancaster and Mosquito pilot earning a DFC.

Some online resources suggest that Fernand was with 145 Squadron but this is not confirmed.


Squadrons add
RAF 601 Squadron 1942-07-02
RAF 41 1945-03-24
RAF 601 1942-03-22
RAF 80 Squadron 1942-10-01
RAF 123 Squadron 1942-10-22
RAF 602 Squadron 1944-07-17


AB468 To Kilo 8 1941-08-22
AD120 Formation flying 1942-03-22
BL967 Formation 1942-03-22
AD120 Sector Recco 1942-03-25
BL967 Sector Recco 1942-03-26
BL906 Sector Recco 1942-03-26
BL906 Formation flying 1942-03-26
BL906 Formation flying 1942-03-28
BL906 Formation flying 1942-03-29
BL967 Acrobatics 1942-03-29
BL988 Aerobatics 1942-03-30
BL988 Formation 1942-03-30
BL988 Formation 1942-04-04
BL996 Attacks 1942-04-05
BR192 Fighter sweep 1942-07-02
BR192 Cannon test 1942-07-02
BR118 Cannon and air test 1942-07-03
BR113 Sweep - top cover for 145 squadron 1942-07-04
BR114 Cannon test 1942-07-06
BR459 Patrol 1942-07-07
BR384 Practice patrol 1942-07-08
BR114 Readiness, Recco 1942-07-10
BR113 Search for German recco A/C 1942-07-11
BR113 Engine air test 1942-07-11
BR459 Patrol, El Alamein 1942-07-13
AB327 Cannon tests 1942-07-14
BR459 Top cover to Hurricanes; one enemy A/C damaged 1942-07-14
BR363 Standing patrol over battle area 1942-07-21
BR192 Air test 1942-07-23
BR118 Scramble 1942-07-27
BR466 Cannon test 1942-07-30
BR466 Practice 1942-07-30
BR363 Practice 1942-08-02
AB145 To Kilo 8 1942-08-05
BP988 Practice formation 1942-08-09
BP982 Lydda Pal to Helwan 1942-08-15
BR481 Patrol Heliopolis 1942-08-17
BP982 To Heliopolis and back 1942-08-19
BR586 Scramble Recco Interception 1942-08-20
BR363 From Helwan to LG153; crashed on landing 1942-08-21
BP987 Interception 1943-05-28
BP987 Interception 1943-06-12
ER504 Two Interceptions 1943-06-13
ER504 Interception of Ju86P 1943-06-19
BR363 Interception 1943-06-22
ER504 Interception 1943-06-24
BP987 Interception 1943-06-30
BP987 Interception 1943-07-02
BR363 Interception 1943-07-02
MJ584 Patrol - uneventful 1944-07-24
ML177 Armed recce 1944-07-25
MK841 Fighter sweep 1944-07-25
MK612 Patrol 1944-07-26
MK254 Armed recce 1944-07-26
MK775 Patrol 1944-07-27
MK841 Patrol 1944-07-28
MH718 Patrol 1944-07-28
MH718 Armed recce south of the lines 1944-07-29
MH718 Armed recce 1944-07-29
MH718 Patrol 1944-07-30
MJ605 Patrol 1944-07-30
MJ584 Armed recce 1944-07-31
ML177 Armed recce 1944-07-31
MK255 Armed recce 1944-08-01
MJ605 Patrol of the front line 1944-08-03
MK254 Front line patrol 1944-08-04
NH556 Front line patrol 1944-08-07
PL490 Armed recce 1944-08-07
ML177 Armed recce 1944-08-08
NH171 Armed recce 1944-08-08
ML177 Armed recce 1944-08-09
NH366 Armed recce 1944-08-10
MK612 Low patrol 1944-08-11
PL490 Patrol 1944-08-14
ML177 Patrol 1944-08-14
NH556 Patrol 1944-08-14
PL490 Armed recce 1944-08-15
PL490 Armed recce 1944-08-15
NH556 Armed recce 1944-08-18
PL324 Armed recce 1944-08-19
PL490 Patrol 1944-08-19
PL324 Armed recce 1944-08-20
PL330 Fighter sweep 1944-08-23
PL436 Front line patrol 1944-08-23
PL330 Armed recce 1944-08-25
PL490 Armed recce in Rouen-Fleury area; 1 FW190 destroyed 1944-08-26
PL330 Front line patrol 1944-08-26
PL330 Armed recce 1944-08-28
PL330 From B19 to B40 1944-09-02
PT402 Fighter sweep 1944-09-03
PL493 Fighter sweep in the Brussels area 1944-09-04
PL330 B40 to B52 1944-09-05
PL330 Patrol in the Arnhem area 1944-09-06
PL493 Patrol in the Arnhem area 1944-09-08
PT396 Armed recce in the Arnhem area 1944-09-09
PL330 Armed recce in the Arnhem area 1944-09-12
PL330 Sweep in the Arnhem area 1944-09-17
PL207 Fighter sweep in the Arnhem area 1944-09-18
PL330 Nijmegen patrol 1944-09-22
PL495 Patrols 1944-09-24
PL324 Patrols in the Arnhem area 1944-09-25
PL330 Patrol in the Arnhem area 1944-09-25
PL493 Patrol of the Arnhem area 1944-09-26
ML414 Patrol 1944-10-03
ML414 Patrol 1944-10-06
MK464 Ranger, recalled due to weather 1944-10-09
MK999 Escort to bombers bombing Duisburg 1944-10-14
MJ441 Armed recce SW of Holland 1944-11-06
MK253 Armed recce uneventful 1944-11-07
ML270 Big Ben in The Hague area; hit by flak and landed at Antwerp 1944-11-21
ML270 Return from Antwerp 1944-11-23
SM234 Jim Crow 1944-11-27
SM350 Armed recce and dive bombing 1944-11-29
ML270 Scramble 1944-11-30
SM350 Armed recce 1944-11-30
SM235 Armed recce in The Hague area 1944-12-01
SM343 Armed recce and dive bombing 1944-12-05
SM350 Dive bombing; abortive due to bad weather 1944-12-06
SM350 Armed recce in The Hague area 1944-12-09
SM350 Dive bombing and armed recce 1944-12-11
SM353 Escort to Beaufighters and attack flak positions 1945-01-17
SM234 Dive bombing over The Hague 1945-01-19
SM343 Armed recce; abortive due to engine trouble 1945-01-23
SM350 Escort to Halifaxes 1945-02-01
SM350 Dive bombing oxygen works at The Hague 1945-02-03
SM276 Armed recce and dive bombing 1945-02-04
SM276 Armed recce and dive bombing 1945-02-06
RN210 Patrol Heerenburg Area 1945-03-26
MV249 Patrol Haldern-Heerenburg area 1945-03-26
RM759 Patrol to the Dulmen area 1945-03-30
MV254 Fighter sweep; returned with technical trouble 1945-03-31
MV266 Armed Recco 1945-04-03
MV249 Armed Recco 1945-04-03
RM797 Armed Recco 1945-04-04
RM792 Patrol 1945-04-09
RM792 Patrol 1945-04-10
RM792 Patrol 1945-04-11
SM826 Patrol 1945-04-12
RM792 Patrol 1945-04-14
RN210 Patrol 1945-04-16
RM792 Patrol 1945-04-16
MV249 Patrol 1945-04-17
MV249 Armed Recco from Celle 1945-04-17
MV254 Armed Recco from Celle 1945-04-18
SM826 Sweep 1945-04-19
MV249 Armed Recco from Celle 1945-04-20
RM792 Patrol 1945-04-21
MV249 Patrol to Ulzen-Luneburg rea 1945-04-22
MV249 Weather Recco in the Elbe area 1945-04-23
SM823 Lead Patrol in Lauenburg-Uelzen area. Saw an ME262 but unable to catch it. 1945-04-24
SM817 Lead armed recco. 1 Loco damaged; 6 MET destroyed. 1945-04-24
SM826 Armed recco from Celle 1945-04-25
MV264 Patrol 1945-04-25
SM826 Armed Recco from Celle 1945-04-26
SM817 Armed Recco from Celle 1945-04-28
NH832 Patrol 1945-04-29
SM826 Patrol from Celle 1945-04-30
SM826 Patrol from Celle 1945-04-30
SM817 Lead section on patrol. Four FW190s destroyed by members of the section. 1945-05-01
MV266 Patrol 1945-05-02
MV266 Patrol 1945-05-02
SM826 Sweep 1945-05-02
SM826 Patrol 1945-05-03
MH715 Patrol 1945-05-04
SM826 Last patrol of the war 1945-05-05


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