Hugh Godefroy was born in the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia) on 28 October 1919. His father was a Dutch mining engineer and married to Permilla Maude McLachlin, a Canadian. In 1925 the Godefroys moved to Canada and at the start of WWII Hugh was a student at university. A turning point came when he learned of the death of his girlfriend. The ship she was traveling on was torpedoed by a German submarine, which made Hugh decide to join the RCAF to fight the Germans.
After completing flight training in Canada, Godefroy was shipped to the UK where he joined No. 56 OTU at Suttonbridge, together with Poles, Czechs, Free French and Americans. In the spring of 1941 Godefroy arrived to start operational duty in 11 Group, No. 401 Squadron RCAF at Digby. This squadron, equipped with the Hawker Hurricane, was tasked with defense of the UK, with occasional offensive actions over France. In September 1941 the Squadron received the Spitfire Mk V and shortly afterwards the sqadron was moved to Biggin Hill. Although Hugh had flown anumber of operational sorties he was still considered a 'sprog' (greenhorn) by the veterans, having claimed no aerial victories. It seemed as if all his skills were needed just to stay out of the sights of Bf 109s and Fw 190s.
In 1942 Hugh was transferred to the Air Fighting Development Unit (AFDU) at Duxford. Initially he regarded his transition to a test unit as a demotion. But he learned to appreciate his new posting when he had the time to improve his deflection shooting and experiment with new escort tactics.
Near the end of 1942 Godefroy asked for and got a posting at No. 403 Squadron RCAF. Shortly thereafter, he made his firstkill: a Fw 190. In June of 1943 he was promoted to Squadron Leader. After some more kills he was promoted to Commander of 127 Wing.
In April 1944 Godefroy's second tour of duty ended. He received the DSO and became a staff officer to the Head Quarters of Air Vice Marshall Sir Harry Broadhurst, advising in tactical and personal affairs. He still flew frequently, but not in combat operations. On one of his flights during this period, the engine of his Spitfire stopped and he bailed out over the English Channel. He was rescued, and he spent some time recuperating in a hospital. The resigned and went back to Canada. By the summer of 1944 his war was over. He finished his studies, became physician and lived in Hudson, Quebec.
Hugh Godefroy, the only Dutch ace with seven confirmed victories, published his memories in 1983, called "Lucky Thirteen".
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