Flight Sergeant John Alexander GRANT

Service No: 420661
Born: Windsor England, 19 August 1910
Enlisted in the RAAF: 9 November 1941 (at Sydney NSW)
Unit: No. 460 Squadron, RAF Binbrook, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 460 Squadron Lancaster aircraft ED804), Germany, 28 May 1943, Aged 32 Years
Buried: Uden War Cemetery, Noord-Brabant, Netherlands
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Alexander Archibald and Alice Jean Grant; husband of Elsie Jean Grant, of Wyong, New South Wales, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Petersham NSW
Remembered: Panel 107, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: St Patrick’s College Strathfield Memorial Chapel and Honour Roll, Strathfield NSW

Date: 27-28 May 1943
Target: Essen
Total Force: Dispatched – 581, Attacking – 493
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 18, Attacking – 17; No. 466 Dispatched – 10, Attacking – 10; No. 467 Dispatched – 21, Attacking – 20
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 1,442
Total Aircraft Lost: 21
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 460 – 1; No. 467 – 1

On 27th-28th May when German searchlights could not pierce the clouds, the gunners maintained a heavy barrage around the Pathfinder sky markers, and although on this occasion only one Australian aircraft was hit, this expedient prevented deliberate bombing on a fixed heading, so that the raid was a relative failure. As sky markers were suspended in space and drifted downwind it was essential when employing them for bomb aimers to project their bombs through this point in one direction only if hits were to be achieved on the target.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Page 482

Lancaster ED 804 of 460 Squadron took off at 2314 hours on 27 May 1943 from RAF Binbrook detailed to attack Essen, Germany. It carried a bomb load of 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg), 48 x 30 lb (14 kg) incendiaries and 600 x 4 lb (2 kg) incendiaries. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. ED 804 was one of 19 aircraft of the squadron to take part in the attack. It was later established that the aircraft crashed at 0209 hours on 28 May at Herveld (Gelderland) on the north bank of the Waal, some 10kms north west of Nijmegen, Holland.

The crew members of ED804 were:

Pilot Officer Colin Campbell Bates (415391) (Bomb Aimer) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 22 September 1949
Sergeant William Alfred Blackwell (1272014) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator)
Flight Sergeant John Alexander Grant (420661) (Air Gunner)
Pilot Officer Charles Harrison (131027) (RAFVR) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Ernest James Kerr (414697) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant C R S Morris (1221985) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer) PoW
Sergeant William Guthrie Schrader (413434) (Navigator) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 25 October 1945

Sergeant Schrader later reported “the aircraft was shot down by a night fighter. The aircraft immediately began to fall being on fire in the starboard wing and the belly. The order to abandon was given and acknowledged by both gunners. The Wireless Operator was killed and unable to leave the machine. Both Bates and Morris baled out ahead of me and the other four were still in the aircraft when I baled out at approx 10,000 feet. The aircraft was not under control and it exploded soon after I left. Harrison landed beside me but was dead. I think by concussion from the explosion.”

No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster ED504 (Flight Lieutenant John Matthew Desmond (406641) (Pilot)) on 28 May 1943.


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/16/91
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line


Firkins, P. C. (Peter Charles) (441386) Strike and Return, Westward Ho Publishing City Beach WA, 1985

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