Ross Garstang Gray

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Ross Gray and his navigator F/O Frank Smith



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City of Edmonton Squadron Alone Has 79 1/2 to Credit—Bannock Leads

Ottawa, Oct. 5.— (CP)—The R.C.A.F. City of Edmonton Mosquito Intruder Squadron helped defend Britain against robot bomb attacks and had a score of 79½, an air force release said last night. They got the "half" for a bomb they shattered but didn't stop, and it crashed in open country. Top scorer in the squadron is Sqdn-Ldr. Russel Bannock, D.F.C., of 490 Strathmore boulevard, Toronto, who has "killed" 18½.

Wonder Shooting
Before the squadron took up its "doodle-bug hunting," Bannock had destroyed four enemy aircraft and scored a "probable" during intruder patrols.
Fellow-pilots told of Bannock's wonder shooting. He got four in one night, which is the record for an individual member of the squadron.
A number of crews of the squadron are credited with flying-bomb kills since they were put on the work the night of June 14, when the Nazis first began to use their secret weapon.
Flt.-Lt. S. H. R. Cotterill, D.F.C., of 5 Claxton boulevard, Toronto, has shot down four bombs.

Like Great Half-Moon
"We used to stooge around," he said, "just out from the launching area in France. We were the first-line night fighter patrol. Sometimes we could see the actual launchings—a launching looks like a great half-moon of brilliant explosion. Then, when the thing came up, and it could be spotted by the steady glow from the rear end, we dived down vertically on them at full throttle.
Several kites would line up on one bomb, and if the first one missed, then the others would go down for a try. After our dive on the thing we would level out and let go with a quick burst, and then if you were too close you'd be thrown all over the sky by the explosion, or flying debris would damage the machine. Sometimes, from a distance, we weren't always sure whether there was a doodlebug or not, so we used to line up the light with a star, and then, if it moved, in we went."
Sqdn.-Ldr. R. G. Gray, of Edmonton has "killed" two flying, bombs.

New Technique
"We had to develop an entirely new technique to fight them," he said. "There was certainly nothing in our flying training to give us a hint. For the first couple of nights the most we knew was that Jerry had a new secret weapon, and we had to go get it. We didn't know if the things would blow up in the air and whip us. Some did blow up, of course, and we had to fly through the debris.
"The flash of the explosion blinded us, and afterward we had to grope our way, guiding the crate by the feel of the controls. As the days went by we began to know what the flying bombs would do, and we began to develop a habit of closing one eye as we shot for a 'kill,' so that when the flash had disappeared - if we were lucky enough to hit the thing - we had one eye serviceable for the darkness. Knocking down the doodle-bugs was harder work than going after enemy aircraft."
He said that some of the flying-bombs showed signs of having been tampered with by French underground agents. One he was attacking suddenly wobbled, veered around, then came flying toward him. He let it go by to crash on the German fortified coast.
Flt.-Lt C. J. Evans, of Brantford, got three bombs on the night of June 24. After shooting one down he tackled another in mid-Channel. He ran in close and fired and the bomb blew up, blinding him by the blast and debris, knocking out one of his engines. Then, soon after he had regained control of his stricken machine and his sight, he spotted a third bomb and swung in to shoot it down.


Born in Edmonton, Alberta, 15 December 1915.
Educated at Ridley College and graduated in
Chemical Engineering from Univ. of Toronto in 1938.
Later attended Osgoode Law School.
Enlisted in Moncton, 10 January 1941.
Trained at No.3 ITS (graduated 9 June 1941),
No.17 EFTS (graduated 27 July 1941) and
No.8 SFTS (graduated 10 October 1941
- wings and commission).
promoted to Flying Officer, 1 Oct 1942
Flight Lieutenant, 1 May 1943
Squadron Leader, 18 July 1944
Wing Commander, 5 May 1945.
Posted to Central Flying School
- Trenton, 11 October 1941 for instructor's course.
Instructed at No.3 SFTS, Calgary, 30 Dec 41 to 24 Aug 43
Trained at No.36 OTU, Greenwood, 4 Sept to early Nov 43
Arrived in UK, 21 December 1943.
Further trained at No.60 OTU, 1 February to 10 April 1944
With No.418 Squadron, 12 April to 23 October 1944.
Returned to Canada for instructional work at No. 8 OTU,
- Greenwood (7-13 January 1944) and
No.7 OTU, Debert (14 January to 22 April 1945).
Returned overseas 26 1945, when he
took command of No.406 Squadron.
Returned to Canada, 10 September 1945;
released 30 October 1945.
Called to the Ontario Bar in 1945;
Practiced Intellectual Property Law in Ottawa with
Herridge Tolmie (later merged with Osler Hoskin).
Died in Ottawa, 16 May 1992.
See H.A. Halliday, The Tumbling Sky (Canada's Wings).


GRAY, S/L Ross Garstang (J7547) - Distinguished Flying Cross - No.418 Squadron
Award effective 9 January 1945 as per London Gazette of that date and
AFRO 471/45 dated 16 March 1945

This officer has taken part in a large number of varied sorties, including attacks on enemy airfields and railways. Throughout he has displayed a high standard of leadership, skill and courage, qualities which have contributed materially to the operational efficiency of the flight he commands. In September 1944, Squadron Leader Gray led a section of aircraft to attack an enemy airfield at Bad Aibling. During the operation, Squadron Leader Gray shot down two enemy aircraft over the sea. Some days later this officer again led a small formation of aircraft to attack two enemy airfields, one of them far into enemy territory. Once again the operation was attended with good results. Several enemy aircraft on the ground were most effectively attacked, whilst in the air Squadron Leader Gray shot down a Focke Wulf 190. Much of the success can be attributed to this officer's careful planning, great skill and gallant leadership.


GRAY, S/L Ross Garstang, DFC (J7547) - Bar to DFC - No.418 Squadron
Award effective 15 June 1945 as per London Gazette of that date and
AFRO 1291/45 dated 10 August 1945.

This officer has completed many sorties far into enemy territory since being awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. In these operations he has displayed a high degree of skill, coupled with unswerving devotion to duty. On a recent sortie, undertaken in most adverse weather, Squadron Leader Gray most effectively attacked six enemy aircraft on the two enemy airfields which he operated against in Czechoslovakia. The result obtained reflects the greatest credit on his outstanding ability and determination.


Victories Include :

12/13 August 1944
21 September 1944

30 September 1944

12 October 1944

one V-1
one u/i s/e e/a
one u/i s/e e/a
two u/i s/e e/a
one FW190
one FW190
one Me110
one Me110
one Do217
one u/i s/e e/a
two JuW34s
one JuW34
four Ju87s
five Ju87s
Over the Sea
in the Air &
In the Air

2 / 0 / 1    &

8 / 0 / 11   On The Ground

+ 1  V-1  (maybe 2)




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