Canadian Naval Heroes Graphic Vignettes - Robert Hampton Gray

It was August 9, 1945, and the Second World War was almost over.

Lieutenant Robert Hampton Gray, a Canadian naval pilot serving with the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm, was flying with 1841 Squadron from the aircraft carrier His Majesty’s Ship (HMS) Formidable.

There was little enemy activity; a first strike from Formidable had left the targets in ruins.

Since Gray was briefed for the secondary target of naval ships at nearby Onagawa Bay, he decided to attack again.

The other flight members recall him saying he was going in, and peeled off to follow him in the high speed run.

As Gray levelled out his Corsair, it was blasted with cannon and machine gun fire.

The aircraft was set on fire and one of his 500-pound bombs was shot off. He steadied the aircraft and aimed his remaining bomb. It hit the ocean escort vessel Amakusa below the after gun turret, exploding the ammunition locker and blowing out the starboard side of the ship.

Amakuza rolled and sank immediately.

Gray continued flying but brief seconds later his burning aircraft rolled over, hit the water at high speed and broke up. Gray was killed, becoming one of the last Canadians to die in combat in the Second World War.

For his actions, Gray was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross on August 31, 1945, and the Victoria Cross (VC) on November 13, 1945, the highest medal for valour in the British Commonwealth.

Canadian Naval Heroes - Lieutenant Robert Hampton Gray

Read the full article about Lieutenant Robert Hampton Gray's heroic service during the Second World War.

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