Squadron Leader Frederick Reginald McGRILL MID

Service No: 575
Born: Sydney NSW, 17 June 1918
Enlisted in the RAAF: 10 May 1937 (at RAAF Station Laverton VIC)
Unit: No. 1 Aircraft Depot, RAAF Station Laverton VIC
Awarded the Mentioned in Despatches (MID)
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 1 Aircraft Deport Mitchell aircraft A47-24), off Torquay VIC, 11 December 1944, Aged 26 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Reginald and Catherine Victoria McGrill; husband of Dorothy Mary McGrill, of Concord, New South Wales
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 5, Sydney Memorial, Rookwood NSW
Remembered: Panel 113, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Concord War Memorial, Concord NSW

At 1107 hours on 11 December 1944, Mitchell A47-24 crashed in the sea six miles east of Torquay Range, Victoria. The aircraft was detailed to carry out an armament test flight at the Torquay Sea Range. It took off from Laverton at 1045 hours and flew over the target area at a normal height (probably 1,000 feet) heading to sea and flat dived towards the sea firing its front guns. The plane continued on and struck water, bounced upwards and then sank back.

During the dive, Flight Lieutenant Claire was operating the turret and had fired some short bursts into the water. He noticed smoke and extricated himself from the turret to find the fuselage full of dense black smoke through which he could not see. He and one of the armourers found extinguishers but they were unable to quell the fire. The aircraft then struck the water and broke open and two who survived were thrown clear. The automatic dinghy operated perfectly and was within a few yards of Claire who boarded it and then assisted Roberts to embark. The aircraft sank and nothing was seen of the other crew members.

The crew members of A47-24 were:

Leading Aircraftman Ronald James Cavanagh (51756) (Fitter Armourer)
Flight Lieutenant Albert George Claire (273495) (Wireless Air Gunner) Slightly injured, Discharged from the RAAF: 15 November 1945
Squadron Leader Frederick Reginald McGrill MID (575) (Second Pilot)
Leading Aircraftman Dennis Robert Roberts (23394) (Test Armourer) Uninjured, Discharged from the RAAF: 26 March 1946
Flight Lieutenant Robert Alfred Wines DFC (402432) (Pilot)


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 Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/26/697; A9845, 2
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line

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