This page is dedicated to the memory of:
Christopher Anthony Griffin
656 Squadron Army Air Corps
Christopher Griffin was born on 10th October 1949 in Colchester, Essex. He was the only son of Olive and Reg Griffin, and had a younger sister named Tina. Chris was brought up as an ‘Army brat’; his father served during the war in the Essex Regiment, then the Suffolk Regiment and finally the Royal Anglian Regiment as the family moved around the world. The young Griffin was educated at several Army schools, starting in Wuppertal (Germany), then Cyprus and Berlin, a boarding school in Colchester, followed by Felixstowe, Aden and a grammar school in Great Yarmouth. From the last he joined the Army in 1967, aged 18. Initially, his military service was with the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, looking after guard dogs, then with the Royal Corps of Transport as a driver. From here he volunteered for helicopter pilot training, was accepted and began the course in 1975. In 1976 he qualified and specialised in the Gazelle.
On 25th March 1972, at Holy Trinity church in Caister on Sea, Norfolk, he married Christine Jones. Seven years later they had a son, Paul, who was born on the 14th September 1979.
Chris had two great loves in his life, apart from his family. His first affection lay with Jensen cars. At various times he owned three, and belonged to the Jensen Owners Club, with many friends both in England and America who shared his passion for the marque. Just behind in the affection stakes were his Labrador dogs, of which he also had three. Two of these were named after Jensen cars – ‘Sceptre’ (for the Interceptor) and ‘Seevee’ for the CV8 model. Chris’s skills as a pilot were widely respected, and he acted as advisor to the director of the action film ‘Who Dares Wins’, with its dramatic flying sequences involving Scout helicopters. He did not survive to attend the premiere of this film, because in April 1982 he deployed to the Falkland Islands with 656 Squadron of the Army Air Corps.
On the night of 5th June 1982, he flew forward from 5 Infantry Brigade lines to position some electronic equipment on high ground. During the return journey, his aircraft was shot down by a missile and he was killed instantly along with his observer and 2 passengers. Staff Sergeant Griffin’s body was recovered to Ajax Bay and temporarily interred there, and then laid to final rest in the San Carlos cemetery.
Chris’s widow has remarried and now lives and works in East Anglia. Paul underwent cardiac surgery at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital on the day that his father died; he is now fit and well and works in the entertainment industry.
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I knew Chris and Christina as a child (I was roughly 11 years old ) in Aldershot,through my parents, Rhett Ackerman and Diana Ackerman.
In an evening my Dad and Chris would play Space Invaders on the Atari and my mum and Christine would chat. I would cuddle CV and Septre. They had another Labrador but I can’t remember that ones name. Often I would fall asleep in the dog bed.
I do remember being in the interceptor with Chris, which was rather rough at the time and he put his foot down. The car failed to accelerate. As the interceptor took shape after being stripped and painted with a silver front end and a black rear. I remember being asked to stand guard with the engine whilst on a hoist.
My dad got posted which meant we didn’t see Chris and Chris that often. I think they moved to Downton, near Salisbury later on and we saw them a few times. My dad bought the Interceptor off Chris and I loved being in that car. The leather was so soft and the sound of the engine. My dad left me and my mum not long after Chris’s death. It hit our family hard. I remember Paul being at GOSH and Christine making a decision on a 50/50 operation. Luckily Paul survived.
I did spend a week with Christine at Yarmouth and took CV and Septre on long walks. Buying the dogs ice creams. I have had all my life a fondness for the Interceptor. My wife got me a chauffeured drive on our wedding day. My youngest son is called Jensen (after the car not the driver). We’ve met through the Jensen Owners Club a karter who has coached my son
I do think of Chris fairly often. I met Simon Weston and had a chat with him about the Falklands and how I admire his determination.
I never saw Chris’s grave but a friend took some photos some 30 years after he died. Which made it all real and it upset me
I’m 54 now and Paul will be coming close to 40. He was a lovely baby and very brave like his dad xx
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