© 2009 454 & 459 RAAF Squadrons

454 RAAF Squadron :  15.10.42 - 12.1.44

Flight Lieutenant Edward Langdon "Gerry" GRIMWADE

Wing Operator Air Gunner

RAAF No. 407864

Born: 22.8.1914 - Drummoyne - NSW

Gerry at the 2006 Anzac Day reunion luncheon

Gerry will soon be providing us with more details of his wartime experiences.


Crew member --- part of OPERATION "THESIS"

A retaliatory raid that would be a large combined air strike against various ports and military establishments on Crete.  8 crews were chosen for this mission.  Gerry Grimwade flew with Squadron Leader L.H. Folkard, RAFVR

The "Thesis" Raid of Crete was to relieve pressure from the German operation "Huskey" - the Allied invasion of Sicily and avenge the execution of 100 Cretans who had been shot after assisting a Commando raid on the island.

454 were to provide 2 box formations of 4 aircraft each - each loaded with six 250 lb bombs.  A 230 mile flight.  The mission resulted in 5 aircraft lost over Crete.  

The planners at HQ had forgotten that although the Allies were on double summer time, the Axis were not.  The plan assumed the German defences would be at breakfast and be caught unawares, but in Crete, breakfast was over and the Germans were already attending their daily duties.  This combined with the time it took the escort to coordinate and so the Baltimores consequently arrived over the island first, alerting the island defences, anti-aircraft guns and enemy fighters. The German defences were fully prepared and hence the inevitable result of this low-level strike.

Gerry whose crew logged three and three-quarter hours for the sortie, was another of the lucky returnees.  Gerry said "we were a more experienced crew and didn't take undue chances". He later recalled "bloody lucky really and we watched Folkard go in, blown up by his own bombs."  Together with the five Baltimores, thirteen of the escorting Hurricanes were also shot down.

FLIGHT CREW -  FA 300 - FIRST WAVE - 23.7.1943

Squadron Leader L.H. Folkard, FAFVR

Warrant Officer F.R. Morgan, RAAF

Flight Sergeant R.N. Lawson, RNZAF

Flight Sergeant E.L. Grimwade, RAAF

Flight Sergeant W.T. Hayes, RNZAF

The other 3 Crews:  AG 995 (see Folkhard's page); AG952;  FA390:A - photo below (also see Akhurst page)

Second Wave - 23.7.43

4 CREWS:  FA409; AG869; FA247 AND FA224

Akhurst's plane - the salvage crew examine the wreck of FA 390 A -- par of the First Wave

You can read more about this mission in Mark Lax's book "Alamein To The Alps".  (for details on this book go to our News Page).

Presentation of Painting - Australian War Memorial 1996

Back Row - L-R:  Kevin Blanch -459, Sep Owen - 459, Peter Matthews - 454, Doug Hutchinson - 454 (flew with Sq/L Folkard Flight AG995 - first wave) , Tom Gaunt - 459, George Gray -454, Frank Cowan - 454, [Gerry Grimwade - 454 (last on right - back)]

Front Row - L-R: Bill Abbott - 454, Bob Andrews - 454, Max Coghlan - 454, Ray Rickie - 454 & Jack Stacey - 454


Photo taken at Anzac Day Reunion 2006 (with his granddaughter)