Operation: Ar Test
Date: 15th June 1944 (Thursday)
Unit: No. 26 Anti-Aircraft Co-operation Unit
Type: Hurricane IIC
Base: RAF El Firdan, Egypt
Location: As shown
Pilot: Sq/Ldr. John Grigor MacKenzie Grant DFC. NZ/491759 RNZAF Age 28. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 09:30 hrs on an air test following a new engine fitted. Flying with the canopy open moments later the robber sealing ring of the number 2 cylinder blew. As he throttled back the remaining coolant mixture boiled and sprayed back onto the windscreen and over the pilot's face. The pilot then attempted a forced landing due to temporary blindness.
When about 5 miles from the airfield he was unable to judge his descent accurately and hit the ground at a 45º angle throwing the pilot clear as the Hurricane crashed killing the pilot.
Sq/Ldr. John Grigor MacKenzie Grant DFC. Moascar War Cemetery. Grave 2.C.18. Born on the 05th April 1916 at Tapanui. A steel inspector for Buxton Tube and Steel Company. Enlisted at Levin on the 02nd July 1940. With No. 1 Elementary Flying Training School 29th July 1940. With No. 1 Flying Training School 28th September 1940. The pilot badge was awarded on the 12th of December 1940 and commissioned on the 18th of January 1941. Embarked for England on the 30th January 1941. With No, 3 Personnel Reception Centre 06th March 1941. Further training with No. 52 Operational Training Unit 10th March 1941 flying the Hurricane. Joined 257 squadron 22nd April 1941.
Embarked with squadron on HM Argus for Gibraltar on or about the 20th May 1941. Transferred to HMS Ark Royal flew off the Ark Royal to Malta on the 06th June 1941. Served with 1435 Flight and 127 squadron, before leaving for Egypt with 73 squadron on the 30th June 1942. Joined 26 Anti-Aircraft Co-operation Unit on the 06th December 1942 and became commanding officer. Credited with 1 enemy aircraft destroyed.
Son of John Grant and of Isabella Grant (nee MacKenzie), of Oamaru, Otago, New Zealand.
DFC Citation. Air Ministry, i6th February 1943
The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the following awards in recognition of gallantry displayed in flying operations against the enemy:-
On the 30th January 1943, two forces of bombers were detailed to attack Berlin, one during the morning and the other during the afternoon. To reach the German capital necessitated a flight of more than 500 miles, mostly over heavily defended territory. Close coordination and precise timing were essential but, such was the skill exhibited, that the target was reached and the attacks delivered within seconds of the specified time. That complete success was achieved, despite opposition from the ground defences, is a high tribute to the calm courage, resolution and endurance displayed.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Library Heritage Collection, Weekly News of New Zealand, Air Museum of New Zealand, Museum of Transport and Technology, Auckland, other sources as quoted below:
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember
them. - Laurence
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