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Banstead War Memorial.


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GRIFFITS, JAMES OLLIFF

Pilot Officer 41692

Royal Air Force 222 Squadron


Died 28-March-1940 aged 21

Son of James Olliff Griffits and Irene Stella Griffits of Yew Tree Cottage (now No 2) Yew Tree Bottom Road,Epsom Downs, Surrey. James O Griffits (father) was born in High Wycombe in 1885. In 1901 he is recorded as a scholar at Christ's Hospital school, Newgate St, London. He married Irene Shannon of Castlegate, York in 1914 (in York). Her father was a schoolmaster.

In the phone book James O Griffits is at Yew Tree Cottage, Yew Tree Bottom Rd from at least 1931 to 1949, then 1968 at 302 Reigate Rd, Epsom.

Pilot Officer James was brother to Patrick Gordon Griffits also killed in action.

James was killed when the Miles "Magister" training aircraft Serial L.5953, he was flying, dived into the ground from on top of a loop at Fowlmere, during a landing and local flying exercise.

Grave Reference: Row C. Grave 3.

WHITTLESFORD (SS. MARY AND ANDREW) CHURCHYARD Whittlesford,Cambridgeshire.

Source : Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Publication 'The War Memorial,St Paul’s Church,Nork, Banstead'.

John Benyon - WHO's WHO in the 'War Graves' in Whittlesford Churchyard.

Mark Stanley (BHRG) for correction of plane serial number.

Surrey History Centre ref 6128/1/89

This Banstead Urban District Council file holds documents relating to the upkeep of the Banstead War Memorial.
One document is a letter dated 23rd May 1951 from Mr. J. O.Griffits of Yew Tree Cottage. He gives details of his sons, James and Patrick and requests that their names be added to the Banstead War Memorial.
This was subsequently done and the two brothers' names are inscribed together on the Memorial.
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Last update 10 august 2007 mailed secretary@cfhs.org.uk <secretary@CFHS.ORG.UK> for local info
No picture available.

Whittlesford.info have kindly agreed to provide local photos.
14 Dec 2006
GRIFFITS, PATRICK GORDON

Flight Sergeant 1385052

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 60 Squadron


Died 2-October-1944 aged 21

Son of James Olliff Griffits and Irene Stella Griffits of Yew Tree Cottage (now No 2) Yew Tree Bottom Road,Epsom Downs, Surrey

Brother to James Olliff Griffits (same name as father), killed in a flying accident.

Patrick was based at Krangia,Singapore, and was killed whilst flying a Hurricane aircraft on sorties against the Japanese.

Memorial Reference: Column 434.

SINGAPORE MEMORIAL

Source : Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
Publication 'The War Memorial,St Paul’s Church,Nork, Banstead'.
Surrey History Centre ref 6128/1/89

* This Banstead Urban District Council file holds documents relating to the upkeep of the Banstead War Memorial.
One document is a letter dated 23rd May 1951 from Mr. J. O.Griffits of Yew Tree Cottage. He gives details of his sons, James and Patrick and requests that their names be added to the Banstead War Memorial.
This was subsequently done and the two brothers' names are inscribed together on the Memorial.

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War Memorial Singapore, by permission of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
GRIMWOOD, ERIC NORMAN

Sergeant 1183176 Eric Norman Grimwood - adapted from Kevin Lancey photo Sergeant 1183176 Wireles Operator and Air Gunner

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 97 Sqdn.


Died 26-July-1942 aged 20

Son of Frederick Grimwood and Edith Mary Minton whose marriage was registered at St Olave, Southwark in 1906. There were five children in the family, Frederick William (1908), Winifred M (1911), Jessie M (1913), Leonard (1920)and finally Eric Norman.Eric's birth was registered in the January Quarter of 1922 at St Olave.
The phone book for 1945 shows an FW Grimwood at 40 Waterer Gardens, Burgh Heath.

Sergeant Eric Grimwood was reported lost at sea whilst flying in a Lancaster on a bombing Mission to Hamburg.

In February 1941 No.97 Squardron re-formed at Waddington in No. 5 Group as a heavy-bomber squadron equipped with Avro Manchesters. The Manchesters were the largest twin engine bomber in the service powered by 2 Rolls Royce vulture engines.

In March 1941 the Squadron moved to Coningsby and during the following month began operations against Fortress Europe. One entry in the Squadron Movement of Aircrew log for September 1941 reads:

1183176  Sgt Wop/Ag     E.N.Grimwood  posted from 25 OTU Finningley  18.9.41   

Avro Manchester Mk Ia in 97 Squadron markings,courtesy of the Royal Air Force - history section.
Avro Manchester Mk Ia in 97 Squadron markings.

Following his new posting Eric Grimwood took part in many bombing raids in a Manchester, serial No. L.7489.

Manchester 1A - L7489 was delivered to 97 Squadron on Sept 14th 1941. 97 Squadron's code letters were 'OF' as shown above, and L7489's individual aircraft code letter was 'T', so the aeroplane in 97 Squadron service would have been OF-T known as 'T' - Tommy.

Some of Sergeant Grimwood's missions in 1941/2 are detailed below. Initially all missions were flown by the same crew namely Flight Lieutenant Coton, Pilot Officer Maltby, Pilot Officer Boddington, Sergeants Watkins, Grimwood, Newell and McMahon. 

23/24 October 1941 – Kiel (Ship building yards)
L7489 Up 0058.  Down  0550.  Target covered by 10/10th low cloud.  Bombed on position estimated by heavy flak.

26/27 October 1941 – Hamburg (Main railway station)
L7489 T  Bombs seen in buildings south of the Elbe.  1 x 4000lb and 2 x 500lb from 12000 feet.

31 October/1 November 1941 – Hamburg (Blohm & Voss Ship Yards)
L7489 T  Bombs dropped in target area.  Fires seen.  Height 16000 feet.

7/8 November 1941 – Cologne (Railway Communications)
L7489 T  Up 1855  Down 0040. Bombs released on east bank of river in region of the target.  Large red flames shot up to above 15000 feet at Ostend on return.  Bright moon, thick haze, but occasional gaps.  Bomb load 1 x 4000, 4 x 500.

In the new year of 1942, the crew members changed

15 January 1942 - Hamburg (Bombs 14 SBC's)
L7489 T P/O Maltby, Sgts Lancey, Smith, Grimwood, Rouse, P/O Kirkwood-Hackett, Legace. Bombs dropped on town, close to another stick of incendiaries. A dummy fire was observed at Gluckstadt.
Manchester L7489 picture courtesy of Michael Lauersen - see sources section for web site)
In early 1942 No.97 Squadron began to convert to Lancasters and in March a move was made to Woodhall Spa.


L 7489 was transferred to 50 Squadron on Feb 12th 1942. On the 8/9th April 1942 , while flying over the Danish coast, the bomb doors jammed. The Manchester managed to climb to 4500 feet but was not able to maintain the altitude even with engines running at full power. The starboard engine and wiring caught fire and it crashed in a field belonging to the “Marienborg” estate with the loss of the Pilot, Sgt Maurice Gruber.


8/9 April 1942 - Gardening ("Rosemary" Area)
R5495 N F/O Maltby, Sgts Lancey, M.R.Smith, Grimwood, Rouse, Humphrey, F/Sgt Legace. Up 2116 Down 0130. Successfully planted vegetables in correct position in Rosemary area, uneventful trip. No cloud, visibility 6 miles. Bomb load 3 ASS 22 2 ORD 1 PDM1.

On the 17th April 1942, in conjunction with No. 44 Squadron, No.97 Squadron made a historic low-level daylight attack on MAN Diesel engine works at Augsburg.

27/28 April 1942 - Tirpitz at Trondheim (alternative Sheer or Prinz Eugen) - Bomb load 1 x 4000lb, 4 x 500lb
R5495N F/O Maltby, F/S Lancey, Sgts M.R.Smith, Grimwood, Rouse, F/S Legace, Sgt Humphrey. Up 2020 Down 0430. Visibility good, dropped 4000lb bomb from 8000 feet. Bomb seen to burst and flash lit up the end of the ship - primary being attacked. Burst assumed between ship and cliff. Released 500lb bombs on island west of target on flak and searchlight, bursts not observed. Trip in and out uneventful.

28/29 April 1942 - Tirpitz at Trondheim (alternative Prinz Eugen and Sheer) - Bomb load 1 x 4000lb, 4 x 500lb
R5495N F/O Maltby, F/S Lancey, Sgts M.R.Smith, Grimwood, Rouse, F/S Legace, Sgt Humphrey. Up 2057 Down 0450. Visibility good, bombed primary. Results not seen owing to smoke screen. Large burst observed. Set course for alternative and dropped bombs across inlet at 8000 feet. Results unobserved. Flak heavier and more accurate. Set course for base.

97 Sqn Crew 21
The picture above, taken in early 1942, shows the  crew  at about the time they were about to fly their first operation as a newly formed unit. Most of them were newly qualified as aircrew but the pilot, Plt Off David Maltby, third from the right in the greatcoat, and next to him, second from the right, wireless operator Sgt Eric Grimwood had already flown several operations together  when David Maltby was still flying as a 2nd pilot. The others are from left to right, Sgt Max Smith (navigator), Sgt Lyle Humphrey (gunner) and Sgt Harold Rouse (bomb aimer). On the far right is Sgt Harvey Legace (gunner) and crouching in the hatch is Sgt George Lancey (2nd pilot).   PHOTO : Kevin Lancey


4/5 May 1942 - Raid on Engineering Factory - Stuttgart (alternative - town of Stuttgart) - Bomb load 14 SBC's
R5553S F/O Maltby, F/S Lancey, Sgts M.R.H.Smith, Grimwood, Rouse, F/S Legace, Sgt Humphrey. Up 2257 Down 0114. Reaching the French coast, undercarriage came down of its own accord, suspected hit by flak, all types of accurate flak coming up when failure occurred. Mission was abandoned, bomb doors failed to open so forced to land with full load without flaps with result that the aircraft overshot and crashed without injury to the crew. Aircraft a complete write-off.

Extract from Bomber Command Losses - 4/5.5.42
Lancaster R5553 OF-S Op: Stuttgart. T/O 2257 Woodhall Spa. Believed hit by flak while crossing the French coast, and returned to base, where a crash-landing was effected at 0141. No injuries reported.

17/18 June 1942 - Gardening "Nectarine" area - Load 6 mines
L7574N P/O W.A.McMurchy, P/O R.Morgan, P/O K.Williams, Sgt E.Grimwood, F/S J.Richardson, Sgts T.A.Grey, R.C.Martin. Up 0141 Down 0501. Six parachutes seen to open by rear gunner as vegetables fell in correctly judged position. Light flak and two searchlights on east end of Ameland. Nothing else of interest.

19/20 June 1942 - Essen (Osnabruck alternative) - Bomb load 1 x 4000lb 8 x SBC 4lb
R5502M P/O W.A.McMurchy, F/S R.H.Morgan, P/O K.J.Williams, Sgt E.Grimwood, F/S J.Richardson, Sgts T.A.Grey, O.Barraclough. Up 2356 Down 0218. Returned early from position 53.58N 0350E with rear turret u/s. Jettisoned eight SBCs twenty miles east of Skegness at 0155 hours, height 5,000 feet.

21/22 June 1942 Gardening "Deodars" area - Load 6 mines
R5487V P/O W.A.McMurchy, F/S R.H.Morgan, P/O K.Williams, Sgt E.Grimwood, F/S J.Richardson, Sgts T.A.Grey, O.Barraclough. Up 2225 Down 0455. Garden located by landfall on Cardouan Island. Lighthouse seen by mid upper gunner when turning into garden. Vegetables planted in correct position. Parachutes seen to open. Visibility 4 miles - good moon. Heavy and light flak on French coast. Not very accurate. Fired at by two ships - also not very accurate.

25/26 June 1942 Bremen - Load 1 x 4000lb 8 x SBC 4lb
R5486W F/O W.A.McMurchy, F/S R.H.Morgan, P/O K.Williams, F/S J.Richardson, Sgts E.Grimwood, O.Barraclough, T.A.Grey. Up 2352 Down 0435. Returned early - artificial horizon u/s 150 miles out at sea. Planted incendiaries in North Sea.

27/28 June 1942 Bremen - Bomb load 1 x 4000lb 8 x SBC 4lb
R5487V F/O W.A.McMurchy, F/S R.H.Morgan, P/O K.Williams, F/S J.Richardson, Sgts E.Grimwood, T.A.Grey, O.Barraclough. Up 2345 Down 0405. Bombed primary on TR. 10/10ths cloud at 10,000 feet. Light above cloud. Three enemy aircraft seen, one possibly Me110 came in to attack three times. Evasive action caused him to break off without firing. Considerable flak over target.

29/30 June 1942 Bremen - Bomb load 1 x 4000lb 8 x SBC 4lb
R5487V F/O W.A.McMurchy, F/S R.H.Morgan, P/O K.Williams, F/S J.Richardson, Sgts E.Grimwood, T.A.Grey, O.Barraclough. Up 2344 Down 0322. Bombed primary from 13,000 feet. Good visibility above cloud. Fairly heavy flak over target area. During run in to target, dummy fires seen through cloud breaks. Glow seen through cloud as bomb burst.

2/3 July 1942 Bremen - Bomb Load 1 x 4000lb, 8 x SBC 90 x 4lb
R5487V F/O W.A.McMurchy, Sgt R.H.Morgan, P/O K.J.Williams, F/Sgt J.Richardson, Sgts E.N.Grimwood, T.A.Grey, J.Barraclough. Up 2336 Down 0410. Primary bombed from 12,000'. Bend in river clearly seen on run up to target. Visibility excellent over target area in which were numerous fires. Heavy and accurate AA fire around dock area. Numerous flares seen on route, appeared to be dropped by fighters.

8/9 July 1942 Wilhelmshaven Docks - Bomb Load 14 x SBC 4lbs
R5487V F/O W.McMurchy, F/Sgt R.H.Morgan, P/O K.J.Williams, F/Sgt J.Richardson, Sgts E.Grimwood, J.Barraclough, T.A.Grey. Up 2356 Down 0422. Flares dropped short of target. Primary bombed from 15,000' by TR and visually by flares. Fires seen burning in what appeared to be target area. Flak was not very heavy and not very accurate.

11/12 July 1942 Danzig - Bomb Load 5 x 1000lb RDX
R5559W F/O W.McMurchy, F/Sgt R.H.Morgan, P/O K.J.Williams, F/Sgt J.Richardson, Sgts E.Grimwood, J.Barraclough, T.A.Grey. Up 1640 Down 0239. Kept below cloud on outward journey. Primary bombed from 4,000'. Bombs seen to burst in target area and three fires seen burning. Flak encountered over target and on eastern side of Denmark.

13/14 July 1942 Duisburg - Bomb Load 5 x 2000lb HC
R5559W F/O W.J.McMurchy, F/Sgt R.H.Morgan, P/O K.J.Williams, F/Sgt J.Richardson, Sgts E.Grimwood, T.A.Grey, J.Barraclough. Up 0042 Down 0412. Primary bombed on TR through light cloud. Gunners reported red glow as aircraft left target area. Flares seen to south of town. Dummy fires very effective.

26/27 July 1942 Hamburg
R5487V F/O W.McMurchy, Sgt J.P.Doyle, P/O K.J.Williams, Sgt E.Grimwood, F/Sgt J.Richardson, Sgts T.A.Grey, J.Barraclough. Up 2303 - missing from this operation.
RAF Memorial at Runnymede - photo by L N Wood
Extract from Bomber Command Losses - 26/27.7.42
Lancaster I R5487 OF-V Op: Hamburg. T/O 2303 from Woodhall Spa. Presumed lost over the sea. One body, that of Sgt Barraclough, was found and he was buried on 12 September 1942, in Klovdal Cemetery, Sweden. Since 1945 his remains have been taken to Kviberg Cemetery. His companions have no known graves. F/O W.A.McMurchy RCAF(+), F/S J.P.Doyle RCAF(+), P/O K.J.Williams(+), Sgt E.N.Grimwood(+), F/S J.G.Richardson(+), Sgt T.A.Grey(+), Sgt O.Barraclough(+).


27.7.42 Very heavy rain. Signal received from AOC Bomber Command "Congratulations on last night's magnificent effort against Hamburg. One of the outstanding successful attacks of the whole war. This operation together with the three highly effective Duisburg-Ruhr attacks completes a week's work in the face of the most difficult weather which the German enemy will long have cause to remember. You will eventually get the Boche down for the count. It is but a question of time and numbers. You may as yet be too few but you are dammed good."

Pilot Officer D. Maltby, later became S/Ldr. D. Maltby DSO DFC. who flew with the famous 617 Dambuster Squadron.
E N Grimwood Runnymede Memorial Panel 84

Memorial Reference: Panel 84.

RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL Surrey, England.

Source : Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
Related link : RAF History of No. 97 squadron.
Related link : 97 Squadron association.
Manchester L 7489 Crash report and photograph from : Air War over Denmark.
Martin Grimwood to provide birth certificate 1 Nov 2007
Grimwood family research by Maggie Driver
Crew 21 photo originally from Kevin Lancey but advised to BHRG by Charles Foster author of Breaking the Dams.

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Last update 15 May 2009 - added 97 crew photo and details. photo.