Canadian Virtual War Memorial

Robert Hampton Gray

In memory of
Lieutenant
Robert Hampton Gray
August 9, 1945

Military Service:

Age:
27
Force:
Navy
Unit:
Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve
Division:
H.M.S. Formidable
Citation(s):

1939-45 Star
Atlantic Star
Africa Star
Pacific Star
Defence Medal
Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with clasp
War Medal 1939-45 with Oak Leaf (Mentioned-in-Despatches).

The citation in the London Gazette of November 13, 1945, gives the following particulars:

For great valour in leading an attack on a Japanese destroyer in Onagawa Wan on 9th August, 1945. In the face of fire from shore batteries and a heavy concentration of fire from some five warships, Lieutenant Gray pressed home his attack, flying very low in order to ensure success. Although he was hit and his aircraft was in flames, he obtained at least one direct hit, sinking the destroyer. Lieutenant Gray constantly showed a brilliant fighting spirit and most inspiring leadership.

Honours and Awards:
Distinguished Service Cross
Victoria Cross

Additional Information:

Born:
November 2, 1917 Trail, British Columbia
Enlistment:
July 18, 1940 Calgary, Alberta

Son of John Balfour and Wilhelmina Gray (1969 National Memorial (Silver) Cross Mother), of Nelson, British Columbia.

Brother of Phyllis Gray-Gautschi of Nelson, British Columbia.

His brother John (Jack) Gray died on February 27, 1942 while serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Commemorated on Page 520 of the Second World War Book of Remembrance. Request a copy of this page.

Robert Hampton Gray is a recipient of the Victoria Cross.
Complete list of Canadian Victoria Cross Recipients

Burial Information:

Cemetery:
HALIFAX MEMORIAL ; Nova Scotia, Canada
Grave Reference:
Panel 13.
Location:
The HALIFAX MEMORIAL in Nova Scotia's capital, erected in Point Pleasant Park, is one of the few tangible reminders of the men who died at sea. Twenty-four ships were lost by the Royal Canadian Navy in the Second World War and nearly 2,000 members of the RCN lost their lives. This Memorial was erected by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and was unveiled in November 1967 with naval ceremony by H.P. MacKeen, Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia, in the presence of R. Teillet, then Minister of Veterans Affairs. The monument is a great granite Cross of Sacrifice over 12 metres high, clearly visible to all ships approaching Halifax. The cross is mounted on a large podium bearing 23 bronze panels upon which are inscribed the names of over 3,000 Canadian men and women who were buried at sea. The dedicatory inscription, in French and English, reads as follows:
1914-1939
1918-1945
IN THE HONOUR OF
THE MEN AND WOMEN
OF THE NAVY
ARMY AND MERCHANT NAVY
OF CANADA
WHOSE NAMES
ARE INSCRIBED HERE
THEIR GRAVES ARE UNKNOWN
BUT THEIR MEMORY
SHALL ENDURE.

On June 19, 2003, the Government of Canada designated September 3rd of each year as a day to acknowledge the contribution of Merchant Navy Veterans.

Information courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Digital Collection

Send us your images
  • Photo of Robert Hampton Gray – Photo of Second Lieutenant(Pilot) Robert Hampton Gray, taken when he received his pilot wings in September 1941.
  • Family – Left to right:  Phyllis Gray-Gautschi, Wilhelmina Gray and John Balfour Gray.
  • Airplane
  • Photo of Robert Hampton Gray – Submitted for the project, Operation: Picture Me
  • Memorial – In Memorial Lieutenant Robert Hampton Gray V.C., D.S.C. Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve

Lieutenant Gray trained as a pilot at this airfield during the period June-Sept 1941. In World War II Lieut Gray was the only Canadian Naval recipient of the Victoria Cross which was awarded posthumously for his gallant and successful attack on a Japanest destroyer on 9 August 1945.

We also Remember the 23 brave young men of the Fleet Air arm from Britain and the Commonwealth who lost their lives during flying training at this air station during World War II. 

Canadian Naval Air Group Hampton Gray V.C. Chapter, May 1992.
  • Statement of Service
  • London Gazette
  • Crest
  • Medals – Picture of the mess dress medals attributed to R. H. Gray, according to his service records.
  • Entrance – A building and plaque at Royal Canadian Legion, Branch No. 51, 402 Victoria Street, Nelson B.C. was named in honour of  Lieutenant Robert Hampton Gray V.C., D.S.C., Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve. The last Canadian to be killed in action during the Second World War. Lieutenant Gray from Nelson, B.C. died when his corsair aircraft was shot down as he fearlessly led a carrier air strike against the ships of the Imperial Japanese Navy at Onagawa Bay on August 9th, 1945.
http://www.cmp-cpm.forces.gc.ca/dhh-dhp/nic-inm/sm-rm/mdsr-rdr-eng.asp?PID=6773

L.T.R.H. Gray, V.C., D.S.C.R.C.N.V.R. 1917-1945 In honoured memory
[building/édifice]
1902
DRILL HALL

[plaque/plaque]
NELSON DRILL HALL

THIS WAS THE SITE OF THE NELSON DRILL HALL
FROM 1902 - 1994

THE HALL WAS THE CENTRE OF MILITARY LIFE
IN THE NELSON AREA AND WAS HOME TO MANY UNITS
OF THE CANADIAN ARMY INCLUDING:

SOUTH KOOTENAY RIFLES ROCKY MOUNTAIN RANGERS
54TH KOOTENAY BATTALION CDN EXPEDITIONARY FORCE
24TH HEAVY ANTI-AIRCRAFT REGT ROYAL CDN. ARTILLERY
44TH FIELD ENGINEER SQD. ROYAL CDN. ENGINEERS

THE DRILL HALL WAS ACQUIRED BY THE PROVINCE
IN 1964 AND SERVED MANY CIVILIAN FUNCTIONS
UNTIL ITS DEMOLITION IN 1994

PROVINCE OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
  • Robert Hampton Gray Memorial School – The Robert Hampton Gray Memorial School at 12 Wing Canadian Forces Base Shearwater, Shearwater, NS was dedicated in 1952, in memory of Robert Hampton Gray, VC, RCNVR, Second World War. It now houses the Canadian Forces Military Families Resource Centre (MFRC) and the French Language Training School.
HAMPTON GRAY
MEMORIAL
http://www.cmp-cpm.forces.gc.ca/dhh-dhp/nic-inm/sm-rm/mdsr-rdr-eng.asp?PID=4861
Photo Credit: Marilyn Gurney
  • Memorial Plaque – Lt Robert Hampton Gray plaque, Nelson, British Columbia
  • Cenotaph – Barrie Military Park, Canadian Victoria Cross Recipients, Cenotaph

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