28.02.1944 No. 65 Squadron Mustang III FX996 W/Cdr. Grant
Date: 28th February 1944 (Monday)
Unit: No. 65 Squadron (1)
Type: Mustang III
Base: RAF Gravesend, Kent
Location: Orsett, Essex
Pilot: W/Cdr. Reginald Joseph Cowan Grant. DFM. DFC and bar. NZ/391352 RNZAF Age 29. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off from RAF Gravesend in Kent at 12:35 hrs as escort against a ’Noball’ (V1 flying bomb) target at Poix/Amiens in France. 15 minutes into the flight he reported that he was experiencing engine problems, he gave the order for the remainder to continue with the operation and broke away.
He glided down to 1000-1500 ft and then rolled the aircraft and was seen to leave the aircraft at around 400 ft. The aircraft continued, crashing at Orsett. The pilot was killed instantly when he hit the ground - no parachute deployed. It is thought that oil from the engine obscured the windscreen and that the fumes had overcome the pilot.
Above L-R: Sq/Ldr. Reg Grant, Fl/Lt. J. Pattison, Fl/Lt. R. Baker - whilst at 485 Squadron 21st January 1943
The Grant family lost 3 sons. William Edward Grant died from an illness whilst serving with the RAF on the 02nd February 1932. F/O. Ian Allan Charles Grant was killed on the 13th February 1943 whilst with 485 Squadron - the then Sq/Ldr. Reg Grant was flying alongside him when he was killed. (full story of his loss here)
(1) The aircraft belonged to 65 Squadron, but he was Station Commander at 122 Airfield HQ, 83 Group Tactical Air Force based at RAF Gravesend.
W/Cdr. Reginald Joseph Cowan Grant. DFM. DFC and bar. Brookwood Military Cemetery. Grave 2.K.6. Born on the 03rd June 1914, the son of William Edward and Gertrude Isabella Grant, of Mission Bay, Auckland, New Zealand. A total of 673 flying hours logged and on his 205th operational sortie.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Cenotaph, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below: