Flying Officer Robert Garfield GRIVELL 417578 RAAF

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Sergeant Robert Grivell RAAF

 

Flying Officer Robert Garfield Grivell RAAF and crew was hit over the target by flak damaging the fuel tanks to the port engines resulted in the port inner being feathered while attacking Vohwinkel on January 1st 1945. Over Namur homeward bound at 11,000ft the Lancaster was hit by American AA fire, it is believed that the unit responsible was the US 184th Gun Battalion. The Battalion held a defensive position along the Meuse River at Namur, Belgium and had seen considerable action during the recent Battle of the Bulge.
Unbeknown to Flying Officer R Grivell and crew during the hours of darkness flying above Namur was prohibited below a certain height to Allied aircraft due to the importance of the rail and road bridges across the Meuse, the whole area was hotly defended.
Grievously hit the entire port side of PB768 XH-B caught fire, the rear gunner 20-year-old Sergeant R Keel reported over the intercom that the turret had been hit, the pilot realising that the fire was spreading gave the crew the order to prepare to bail out, almost immediately the aircraft was hit again, either the young Australian pilot was hit or the controls severed as the Lancaster went in to a violent spin. The Canadian bomb aimer Flying Officer George Ingram RCAF was in the process of opening the escape hatch when he was thrown forward onto the bombsight, the force of the spinning Lancaster wedged him between the sight and the bomb aimers dome prevented him from moving let alone making his escape, trapped by the centrifugal force Flying Officer Ingram managed in desperation to kick out the perspex dome and vacated the Lancaster at 2000ft, leaving the flight engineer Sergeant L Peckett trapped in the forward section without his parachute. On landing and thinking he was still in occupied Belgium Ingram spent a day and night wondering the countryside, exhausted and wounded he finally gave himself up to a number of soldiers who thankfully turned out to be Americans. Immediately taken to an American forward hospital it was discovered that he had a number of shrapnel wounds to his upper body and chest, unfortunately he was the sole survivor from the crew. This was Flying Officer Robert Grivell’s seventh operation and the crews fifth. The Lancaster crashed near Emines, 11 kms SE of Gembioux at around 20.00hrs. The Americans were also responsible for bringing down a No.115 Squadron Lancaster flown by Squadron Leader F Mills and crew, their Lancaster also crashed at Emines with the loss of all 8 crew members.

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Leopoldsburg Cemetery Joint Grave VIII.D.19-20

 

Grivell 1 Leopoldsburg War Cemetery (2) 

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