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Service:Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number:261514
Rank:Squadron Leader
Date of Birth:9 March 1915
Decorations:Air Force Cross


Air Force Cross:
With some 3,700 flying hours as a commerical pilot to his credit, Flight Lieutenant Grey was appointed to a commission in the Citizen Air Force with the rank of Flying Officer on 24th June, 1940. He was posted to No. 11 Squadron where he underwent a Catalina conversion course, and was promoted to the rank of Temporary Flight Lieutenant on 1st July, 1941.
On posting to No. 11 Squadron he took part as captain of an aircraft in many operational flights upon reconnaissance duties. His ability as a pilot and his cheerful and consistent devotion to duty under all circumstances proved a shining example to those serving with and under him.
Following upon the enemy landing in New Britain, Flight Lieutenant Grey was instructed to proceed with his aircraft to attempt to evacuate personnel from territory close to that in the occupation of the enemy. On the 23rd January, 1942, under extremely difficult and dangerous conditions of sea he proceeded to a point not more than 18 miles from positions known to be occupied by enemy forces in New Britain. He landed his aircraft and picked up 43 Service personnel, mostly members of the Royal Australian Air Force, and evacuated them safely to Samarai.
On the 24th January, 1942, Flight Lieutenant Grey made a similar flight. On this occasion he made two alightings on both sides of a point not more than 35 miles from the enemy occupied port of Rabaul. He picked up further personnel carried them safely to Samarai and thence to Townsville. The final take-off from New Britain on this second flight was made in darkness with heavy seas running and without the aid of a flare path.
All his take off's and alightings were made in the open sea, the former with his aircraft loaded much beyond normal capacity.
Flight Lieutenant Grey displayed courage, initiative and skill in the course of these operations and showed a fine example to capatains and crew of other aircraft.

External Links

World War 2 Nominal Roll


National Archives of Australia [NAA] 1948, GREY JAMES LEONARD : Service Number - 261514 : Date of Birth - 9 Mar 1915 : Place of Birth - Unknown : Place of Enlistment - Unknown : Next of Kin - GREY ELIZABETH, A9300, GREY J L.

Record updated on 1 November 2018.


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