Basilios Michael "Vass" Vassiliades


DFC   &   DFM

The following by John Mansolas & Angelos Dalassenos

A “millionaire playboy” born on the island of Chios, Greece, Vassilios (Michael) 'Vass' Vassiliades joined the RAF on October 13th 1942. After his training in 53 OUT, he joined No 19 Squadron on the 21st of June 1943 flying Spitfire Vs, then Mk IXs and then Mustang IIIs. He got off to a bad early start being shot down by flak in August 1944. He evaded capture however, and returned to his unit where, flying his Mustang "QV-D” FB201, he enjoyed a successful spell, shooting down six confirmed enemy aircraft, two shared and one probable. His DFM was gazetted on 26 July 1944. Around Christmas 1944 he was posted to No 3 Squadron at Volkel flying the new Tempests. With these, 'Vass' adding three FW 190s destroyed & one damaged to his total.
On January 23rd 1945 he took part in the Tempest’s most successful day of the war when all five squadrons of No 122 Wing (including Vassiliades’ No 3 Sq.) destroyed 10 enemy aircraft without a single loss to themselves.
Michael "Vass" Vassiliades
'Vass', while flying Tempest "JF-E" EJ660, was credited with downing two of them (FW 190s) along with a third damaged.
The names of German pilots listed as shot down by RAF Tempests that day, all belonging to III/JG54 and flying FW-190Ds, were:

Oblt Willi Heilmann     9/JG54, “White 6”
Uffz Guenther Langer  9/JG54, “Black 11”
Ofw Ludwig Goos    10/JG54, “Black 15”
Fw Arnfried Koehler 10/JG54, “Black 14”
Uffz Hermann Rathje 12/JG54, “Red 9” (probably)
Oblt Heinz Seiffert     11/JG54, “Yellow 1”

On March 7th he scored his 10th and last victory of the war shooting down the FW 190D-9, “Yellow 15”, flown by Unteroffizier Karl-Georg Genth of 11/JG26 after a 10-minute-long chase. When Genth’s machine emerged out of a cloud, “Vass” got on his tail and hit the cockpit area. Genth bailed out and his “Dora” crashed in the Enschede area. 'Vass' was awarded the DFC on the 19th of March 1945.
Famous among his comrades for his good fortune whenever he was going head-on against all odds in every chance he got, he met death in exactly this way two weeks after this battle.

On 25 March 1945 he was leading four Tempests in an attack 30 km behind enemy lines against a truck convoy situated in the midst of an area well-known for its lethal defending flak, the Bocholt woods. No sooner had the section begun its attack than his No 2 just exploded in mid-air. Nos 3 and 4 refused to follow the Greek ace in such a suicidal attack, so “Vass” decided to go in all on his own, regardless of the odds. He made a perfect firing pass through a heavy and accurate flak barrage emerging out of it scot-free. Looking back to check the effects of his attack he realized he could have done better with one more strafing pass. His two other comrades refused again to follow his self-sacrificing example despite his orders, so he went in, alone once more, despite their desperate warnings. Just like his No 2 a minute ago, his Tempest, coded “JF-A" EJ755, was blown to smithereens just as he was emerging out of the flak barrage.
After the war a “Liberty” class ship was named after him, which was later sunk in the English Channel following a collision.

Two other known Tempests flown by him were “JF-X” JN807, and “JF-H” JN817, both wearing black-white “Invasion Stripes”, and duck-egg-blue fuselage band and spinner.

John Mansolas & Angelos Dalassenos are writers for the Greek magazines
'Military History', 'Aviation History' & 'History Subjects'



Distinguished Flying Medal


1388657, Flight Sergeant Basilios VASSILIADES, R.A.F.V.R., 19 Squadron

This airman has participated in many sorties over Northern France and has attacked many military targets with good results. He is a most capable section leader whose example of gallantry and determination has won much praise. Flight Sergeant Vassiliades has destroyed 4 enemy aircraft.


Vass' P-51 QV-D


F/Lt B.M. Vassiliades, Nr. 3 Squadron RAF, Times are local Dutch (local)
times, From Operational Record Book, 3 Squadron, Public Record Office, Kew AIR 27/35

05-12-44 Sweep Quachenbrück JN 815 up 14.10-15.55
10-12-44 Sweep Münster EJ 598 13.15-14.25
12-12-44 Armed Recce JN 807 10.30-11.05
                weather unsat.
15-12-44 Wing Sweep EJ 777 10.05-11.10
17-12-44 Armed Recce Rheine JN 875 14.55-15.55
18-12-44 Patrol Aachen EJ 786 15.40-16.50
24-12-44 Patrol Aachen JN 803 08.25-09.30
                Patrol Julich JN 868 14.50-16.40
25-12-44 Patrol Malmedy JN 803 11.10-13.00
27-12-44 Sweep Paderborn JN 803 13.15-15.00
29-12-44 Patrol Malmedy EJ 798 10.00-11.50
                Patrol Nijmegen/Münster JN 875 14.45-16.20
31-12-44 Patrol Münster/Rheine JN 807 14.00-15.25
01-01-45 Armed Recce Paderborn EJ 827 14.15-15.25
16-01-45 Armed Recce JN 817 15.05-16.14
19-01-45 Armed Recce Rheine EJ 700 15.25-16.40
21-01-45 Armed Recce Paderborn EJ 660 12.30-13.50
22-01-45 Armed Recce Paderborn EJ 660 14.40-16.25
23-01-45 Armed Recce Paderborn EJ 660 09.50-11.45
                2 FW 190 destroyed and 1 FW 190 damaged by Vassiliades
24-01-45 Armed R. Hamm/Münster EJ 807 12.25-14.25
28-01-45 Armed R. Nienburg/Celle EJ 647 14.20-16.00
                fired on a train and gunposts without results observed
29-01-45 Armed R. Bremen/Werden JN 875 13.00-14.40
30-01-45 Armed Recce Hildesheim JN 875 08.10-09.00
02-02-45 Armed R. Bremen/Solten EJ 700 09.30-11.05
03-02-45 Armed Recce Paderborn EJ 827 14.45-16.35
06-02-45 Armed R. Zwolle/Groningen NV 676 15.45-17.00
08-02-45 Armed R. Rheine/Paderborn NV 707 12.45-14.50
11-02-45 Armed Recce Hildesheim EJ 690 13.05-15.10
21-02-45 Armed Recce Hildesheim EJ 755 13.10-15.20
22-02-45 Armed Recce Vienenburg EJ 649 10.00-12.05
23-02-45 Armed Recce Rheine EJ 755 07.50-08.50
                One Ju 188 destroyed by F/O Vassiliades on Rheine satellite, DFM
24-02-45 Armed Recce Rheine EJ 690 15.00-16.50
25-02-45 Armed Recce Wolvenbitel EJ 699 13.30-15.00
03-03-45 Wing Sweep Osnabrück EJ 755 16.25-18.25
05-03-45 Wing Sweep Rheine NV 703 16.15-18.00
06-03-45 Scramble NV 767 18.05-18.30
07-03-45 Wing Sweep EJ 759 14.05-16.05
                In the Rheine area about 12 FW 190 and Me 109's met. Vassiliades
                hacked down a FW 190 after ten minutes of hard fighting and found himself
                alone after the combat
13-03-45 Patrol Kempen EJ 829 12.50-14.20
                Sweep EJ 829 16.00-17.45
14-03-45 Sweep Quackenbrück NV 936 13.10-14.45
                Sweep Nienburg/Rheine NV 645 16.30-18.10
15-03-45 Sweep Gütersloh NV 645 11.20-12.45
18-03-45 Sweep NV 652 16.00-17.25
19-03-45 Escort Typhoons NV 655 09.20-10.45
                Escort Typhoons NV 652 13.45-15.35
22-03-45 Sweep ? 13.15-14.50
                Sweep EJ 755 15.50-17.20
23-03-45 Sweep Rheine/Paderborn EJ 755 13.00-14.45
                Sweep Rheine/Paderborn EJ 755 16.30-18.10
24-03-45 Patrol Rheine EJ 755 08.15-09.25
                Patrol Rheine EJ 755 14.15-15.20
25-03-45 Patrol Rheine EJ 758 10.45-12.00
                Patrol rheine EJ 658 16.45-Not yet recorded (NYR)
                In this last patrol led by F/Lt Vassiliades, a heavily defended wood
                was attacked. Unfortunately, Vassiliades took a direct hit from flak
                and his plane blew up


His DFC was Gazetted in March 1945. I have no details.


Vass' Tempest JF-E
Vass' Tempest JF-E. Click it for a better look.


Victories Include :

22 Apr 1944
28 Apr 1944
1 May 1944
21 Jun 1944
24 Jun 1944

8 Jul 1944
8 Aug 1944

23 Jan 1945

24 Feb 1945
7 Mar 1945
one Me109
1/3 Ar96
one Me109
one Me109
one FW190
one Me109
one He111
1/2 Me109
one Me109
one Me109

two FW190s
one FW190
one Ju188
one FW190
damaged OTG
destroyed &
damaged OTG
destroyed &
probable *

destroyed &
destroyed OTG

8.83 / 1 / 1

plus  1 / 0 / 2  On The Ground

* In his logbook he claimed 2 destroyed which would make his score 9.83 / 0 / 1

Score & note from Aces High [Shores & Williams] and Aces High Vol. 2 [Shores]


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Thanks go out to

John Mansolas & Angelos Dalassenos for the photos & infos !

On these pages I use Hugh Halliday's extensive research which includes info from numerous sources; newspaper articles via the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation (CMCC); the Google News Archives; the London Gazette Archives and other sources both published and private.

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