Chronology: No. 51 O.T.U.

This picture could have been taken at No. 51 O.T.U. but I am not sure.

scan0001

No 51 O.T.U. was stationed at RAF Cranfield.  From 27 March 1944 to 16 October 1944 R.C. Harris was posted there.  He was a navigator radar operator and flew on Beaufighters, Wellingtons, Beauforts, and Airspeed Oxfords.

This page from the logbook is interesting in a way as well as the message from Robert.

Hello Pierre!

I have learned so much from reading the latest blog update.  I had never heard of the Havocs with searchlights linked to the Hurricanes!

One log book scan shows my father as instructor to an American – wonder what happened to him! I have attached some other log book extracts which I hope you will find of some use.

Can’t thank you enough for all the work on 23 squadron and beyond.

Kind regards – Rob

One log book scan shows my father as instructor to an American – wonder what happened to him!

51 OTU August 1944

Four entries from 14 August through 18 August 1944. Richard Harris is an instructor to Ensign Grinndal, U.S. Navy on August 14. Squadron Leader Macandrew was the pilot.

Who was Squadron Leader Macandrew? I found nothing about him on the Internet.

Who then was Ensign Grinndal? Was he Richard Eric Grinndal who died on November 22, 1944?

Click here for the source and the complete history of RAF 68 Squadron.

During October 68 Squadron made up for all the frustration of the two previous months as they shot down 13 Flying-bombs. The crews were as follows: Fg Off Haskell/Plt Off Bentley – three; Fg Off Humphrey/Fg Off Robertson – two; F/Sgt Bullus/Fg Off Edwards -one; W/O Lauchlan/F/Sgt Bailey – two; Fg Off Gibson/Sgt Lack – one; Sqn Ldr Wright/Fg Off McCullough – two; and Sqn Ldr Mansfeld/Flt Lt Janacek – two.

Part of the Squadron’s training programme at this time was devoted to cross-countrynavigation exercises, and these included trips over France, recently cleared of Germans. Sqn Ldr Evans of ADGB came to give a lecture on ‘Intruding Over Enemy Territory’. The aircrews were shown three films: ‘The Nazis Strike’, ‘The Battle of Russia’, and ‘Divide and Conquer’. Earlier, three American Navy aircrews had been assigned to the Squadron, they were: Lt Peebles/Ens Grinndal; Lt Black/Lt Aitken; and Lt Kelly/Lt Martin. On 27th October the Squadron moved back to Coltishall having had a very good series of farewell parties at Castle Camps. The Squadron continued to fly anti-diver patrols over the North Sea, but seemed to be selected by Control to operate against Heinkels carrying the flying-bombs.

On 5th November F/Sgt Neal/F/Sgt Eastwood caught a He 111 just releasing its bomb and after a long chase shot it down into the sea, and on the 11th F/Sgt Brooking/PIt Off Finn also dealt with a Heinkel in similar circumstances at 700 ft above the sea. W/O Cookson/W/O GravelI claimed a Heinkel probably destroyed. On the 8th the first V2 rocket was seen by a 68 squadron pilot as it was launched from a site in Holland, it was described as a ‘red glow with flames on the outside shooting straight up into the air at great speed and to a great height’.

The Squadron had really taken to the American crews, who though more formal than the RAF, were super chaps, and 68 were most upset when Joe Black and Tom Aitken were killed pursuing a flying-bomb. Apparently they followed the bomb into the gunstrip and tragically the guns missed the bomb, but brought down the Mosquito. Soon after this there was another tragedy when Sam Peebles and Dick Grinndal, having been scrambled for anti-diver activity at 22.30 hours and just airborne, reported going over to channel ‘D’ on the R/T, but crashed near Horstead at 22.33 hours, both were killed. It is good to be able to say that John Kelly and Tom Martin survived the War.

On Find A Grave Website

Ens Richard Eric “Eric” Grinndal

Birth: Jul. 19, 1918
Chicago
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Death: Nov. 22, 1944
Horstead
Norfolk, England

Casualty of WWII, he was an Ensign in the United States Naval Reserve and worked as a ‘navrad’ (Observer) on de Havilland Mosquito NF.Mk.XVII Registration: HK344, 68 Squadron RAF. It was described as Britain’s “Wooden Wonder”-it featured two Rolls-Royce Merlin engines and was constructed of plywood and balsa wood.He entered the Service from Illinois. His parents were Vidar and Frieda Grinndal from Sweden. His service number was O-325953. He was awarded the Air Medal. He was flying with Lt. Samuel Warmuth Peebles (pilot) US Navy; the aircraft lost an engine on take-off from RAF Coltishall, Norfolk and crashed onto the lawns of Horstead Hall after hitting trees. Sam Peebles was initially interred in Cambridge,England, near Eric but his remains were subsequently repatriated to USA.
  The pilot…

Peebles

Ensign Grinndal and his pilot were flying Mosquitoes that were shooting down Flying-bombs carried by He 111.

800px-Fieseler_Fi103_debajo_de_un_Heinkel_111

Ensign Grinndal is not just a name in a logbook entry anymore…

51 OTU Ensign Grinndal

13 thoughts on “Chronology: No. 51 O.T.U.

    1. Robert is showering me with information about his father.
      I will post everything he sends and try to link it to people his father was with when possible.

  1. I’m so glad that I found your blog! I’m reading a new edition of Squadron 303 by Arkady Fiedler right now. Highly recommended, though I’m guessing that you have already read it!

      1. Sorry about getting off the topic of your post !

        I first saw the film ‘Battle of Britain’ when I was probably about 10. In the end credits there is a list of the number of pilots from foreign countries. I was surprised to see how many were from Poland. 303 included many of those pilots from Poland.

      2. No problem commenting on my blog.
        I was curious to know who was posting a comment on 303 Squadron.
        I knew about the Poles fighting with the RAF, but not the squadron number.
        Poles were fierce fighter pilots.
        I have been interested in airplanes and WWII history since 1958 when I was 10.

        I have more than one blog. One is about 403 Squadron.
        I guess you don’t know anything about it.
        Me neither back in 2011.

        296 posts and counting

        http://rcaf403squadron.wordpress.com/about/

        All because of this…

        http://rcaf403squadron.wordpress.com/2011/09/14/hello-world/

  2. 303 Squadron
    The Battle of Britain saw over a thousand enemy aircraft shot down by British RAF squadrons, and none more so than the famous Polish 303s. No. 303 Polish Fighter Squadron was one of 16 Polish squadrons in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War and won acclaim for their marksmanship and aerial ability during the conflict. Scoring higher than any other squadron, 303 competed with other RAF squadrons in a competition as to who could shoot down the most enemy aircraft. By the end of the Battle of Britain they had won unequivocally, recording an immense 808 hits. In fact, the top three places in this competition’s leaderboard were taken by three of the 12 Polish squadrons, outgunning the best British squadron by far, who only racked up 150 hits.

  3. Hi
    I really appreciate all the work you have done.
    Who was Lt. John Kelly / Lt Tom Martin? Identification is possible?
    Kind Regards Pavel

    1. I only found their names in my research.

      Part of the Squadron’s training programme at this time was devoted to cross-countrynavigation exercises, and these included trips over France, recently cleared of Germans. Sqn Ldr Evans of ADGB came to give a lecture on ‘Intruding Over Enemy Territory’.

      The aircrews were shown three films: ‘The Nazis Strike’, ‘The Battle of Russia’, and ‘Divide and Conquer’.

      Earlier, three American Navy aircrews had been assigned to the Squadron, they were: Lt Peebles/Ens Grinndal; Lt Black/Lt Aitken; and Lt Kelly/Lt Martin.

      On 27th October the Squadron moved back to Coltishall having had a very good series of farewell parties at Castle Camps. The Squadron continued to fly anti-diver patrols over the North Sea, but seemed to be selected by Control to operate against Heinkels carrying the flying-bombs.

  4. Hi,
    no information about the crew of Lt. Kelly / Lt Martin.

    Czech pilot Karel Kuttelwascher DFC & Bar was posted to 23 Sqn.
    July 9, 1942 – October 1, 1942

    Crew F / Lt Kuttelwascher – P / O Palmer 6x Night Intruder over France and the Netherlands
    Navigator P / O Geoffrey Ernest PALMER (116970) DFC

    http://aces.safarikovi.org/biography/cz/cz/kuttelwascher.html

    http://www.czechspitfireclub.cz/?sekce1=cs_letci&sekce2=kuttelwascher

    http://fcafa.wordpress.com/2011/01/01/karel-kuttelwascher/

    Regards Pavel

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