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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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65 Squadron Crest
28.02.1944 No. 65 Squadron Mustang III FX996 W/Cdr. Grant

Operation: Ramrod

Date: 28th February 1944 (Monday)

Unit: No. 65 Squadron (1)

Type: Mustang III

Serial: FX996

Code: YT-?

Base: RAF Gravesend, Kent

Location: Orsett, Essex

Pilot: W/Cdr. Reginald Joseph Cowan Grant. DFM. DFC and bar. NZ/391352 RNZAF Age 29. Killed


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.

Above the memorial plaque. Inscription: 'In grateful memory of Wing Commander Reginald Joseph Cowan Grant DFC and Bar, DFM. RNZAF 65 Squadron RAF. Who lost his life near this spot in defence of the United Kingdom. 28th February 1944. From the uttermost end of the Earth/ Less we forget. Thames Aviation Museum and Thurrock Museum 28th February 2004;.

Burial details:

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 Grant (died 2th6 December 1960, age 87), and Gertrude Isabella (née Rowntree - died o4th August 1938, age 57). 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:

KTY 20.10.2017

KTY 17.06.2024 Memorial photo added, further narrative

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Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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