Battle of Britain London Monument – Sgt. R V Gridley

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Privacy Statement The Airmen’s Stories – Sgt. R V Gridley

 

Robert Victor Gridley joined the RAF in April 1939 as an Aircrafthand. He later trained as a Wop/AG. He was with 22 Squadron in May 1940 and went to 235 Squadron on 3rd August, possibly on attachment.

 

Commissioned in June 1941, Gridley was then with 69 Squadron in Malta. On 13th January 1942 he was a member of the crew of Maryland AH721, captained by W/Cdr. J Dowland, on a reconnaissance sortie to the Pantelleria/Cape Bon/Kerkenal Island area. On the way home, just off Tigne Point, the aircraft was attacked and damaged by two Me109’s, one of which Gridley certainly damaged, firing from a turret.

Dowland got the aircraft back over Malta and ordered the crew to bale out but only the observer was able to do so. Dowland ditched just offshore and the aircraft sank immediately. A watching soldier, Gunner W Izett, dived into the sea, searching in vain for twenty minutes before being dragged out, exhausted. Dowland’s body was later recovered but Gridley’s was never found.

He left a young widow, a Maltese girl, who gave birth to a son very soon after his death.

Gridley is commemorated on the Malta Memorial.

 

 

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