Karel Kuttelwascher

Karel Kuttelwascher story

Free Czechoslovak Air Force

Karel Kuttelwascher

The most successful Czechoslovak fighter pilot of WW2.

Nejúspěšnější československý pilot 2. svět. války.

………………………..* 23 September 1916, Czechoslovakia.

………………………..† 17 August 1959, England.

Svatý Kříž, the birthplace of Karel Miloslav Kuttelwascher, is a small Bohemian hamlet near Německý Brod which is about 110km South East of Prague. At the time of his birth this was part of the Austro Hungarian Empire and following the end of World War 1, it became part of the newly formed state of Czechoslovakia. During the post World War 2 anti-Germanic purges of 1945 in Czechoslovakia, the town was renamed Havlíčkův Brod  and the towns German population was expelled.

Svatý Kříž, rodiště Karla Miloslava Kuttelwaschera, je malá osada nedaleko tehdy ještě Německého Brodu, ležícího asi 110 km jihovýchodně od Prahy. V době svého narození to bylo území Rakousko-Uherské monarchie, po skončení první světové války se stalo součástí nově vzniklého státu…

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Chronology: No. 51 O.T.U. Update

Update with this comment…

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




Regards Pavel

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


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
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Death: Nov. 22, 1944
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…


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


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

51 OTU Ensign Grinndal

January 1945 to May 1945

These were the operational sorties flown by Eugene Gagnon from January 1945 to May 1945.

caricature d'Eugène Gagnon

Mike Thomas whose uncle was this pilot sent them in 2010.

Flight Lieutenant Thomas

I have inserted the logbook pages which were sent by R.C. Harris’ son last year. Some pages are still missing but you will get a good idea of what kind of missions Gagnon and Harris flew in 1945.

No. 23 Squadron Aircrew 1945 R. Harris

January 1945

January 1945

February 1945

Eugene Gagnon missions February 1945

19 February 1945

25 February 1945

March 1945

Eugene Gagnon missions March 1945




On these two pages, entries are similar but are found twice. That’s when Eugene crashed his Mosquito after his mission to Elbe River.

25 March 1945

25 March 1945 (2)

April 1945 and May 1945

Eugene Gagnon missions April 1945

 2 April 1945

2 May 1945