Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: Train buster " Bisty " Grant Sq 400 , 1943

  1. #1
    spitXII Guest

    Default Train buster " Bisty " Grant Sq 400 , 1943

    Hello gentlemen ,

    I'm currently focused on the loss of RCAF Duncan " Bitsy" Grant DFC which was shot down by flak and killed near Le Treport on September 28 , 1943 at 12.00 , flying Mustang I AG577 "F" .
    Grant's exploits was three aerial kills but mainly train shooting and I'm looking for any article about this. He was also featured in a 1943 documentary titled " Train Busters " with footage of him and F/L Morton beside Sq 400 Mustangs as well as footage of attacks on trains and locomotives .
    I 'll be very grateful to any fellow who could help about this footage and articles . As far as possible I'm also tracing Bitsy Grant's relatives in Canada !

    Thank you ,

    Laurent Viton

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Canberra, Australia
    Posts
    53
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default PM Failure

    Laurent,
    Not on this topic, but tried to send you PM via the forum mail facility in reply to your query and keeps on failing "Addressee Not Recognised"

    Please contact off board re your 268 Sqdn query

    cbfordATcyberoneDOTcomDOTau

    Regards,

    Colin Ford
    Canberra Australia

    268 Sqdn RAF Historian
    Last edited by ColFord; 24th January 2008 at 19:21. Reason: Add signature
    Colin Ford
    Canberra
    Australia

    No.268 Squadron Royal Air Force 1940-1946
    Historian by Appointment
    (by the surviving Squadron members)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Orleans, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    1,325
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 4 Times in 3 Posts

    Default Train Buster

    Several years ago I was contracted to comment on a number of Second World War documentaries which a National Film Board employee had discovered (or rediscovered) and who was thinking of a production based on these which was never truly defined and not carried through. I still have my notes on these fillms, including "Train Busters". What follows are my observation about it, followed by notes on the two pilots shown in the "Train Busting" sequences: Figures such as "6.35" refer to the time into the film relevant to the scenes described:

    Train Busters

    This is one of the more curious films in the batch; it seems to have been patched together by a producer who found his office littered with assorted films which he decided to assemble without much thought or planning. For the aircraft recognition experts, this film contains a wealth of "howlers".

    Train Busters relies for openers (as do other films) on some First World War footage (authentic on the ground, Hollywood clips in the air). It jumps through the interwar period, then deals with RCAF anti-submarine patrols (Catalina flying boat, convoy protection, a mock attack on a submarine with an acted-out Operations Room sequence). It then leaps again - overseas - to the bombing campaign, talking (in Lorne Greene's unmistakable voice) about the RCAF Bomber Group - but the first bombers shown are Stirling aircraft - a type never flown by RCAF squadrons.

    The movie then follows through an over-simplified crew briefing until (at 6.35 on the film) the airmen go to their bombers. At last we have RCAF Halifax bombers (LQ of No.405 Squadron prominently shown) - but in flight we have twin-engined Wellingtons (7.50) which finally re-emerge as four-engined Halifaxes (8.30).

    The triumphal note about burning German cities (9.03) may repel modern viewers - but that was how the world thought and worked in 1943.

    The Bomber Command sequences are followed by references to the air war in the Mediterranean (which would have been recent news to 1943 viewers). Again, the footage has some anomalies that only a hawk-eyed nit-picker would spot; the Wellington bombers supposedly dropping mines (9.50) are actually dropping torpedoes.

    Finally (at 12.00) we get to the part of the film directly relevant to the title - aerial campaigns waged against enemy rail traffic in Europe. This portion concentrates on a supposed attack by two pilots, D.M. Grant and J.A. Morton, on a German train. The men are real - the attack itself is a piece assembled from film snippets to tell a story.

    Events similar to this action did occur - but the clips as used are a hodge-podge of film. The men take off in Mustang aircraft, cross the English Channel in Spitfires (taking time to straf a ship), then attack a train while flying Hurricanes. For the sake of drama, the sequence suggests that they have set off looking for a specific train known to be carrying military equipment; in fact, most such operations consisted of aircraft pairs going out in search of targets of opportunity. The effectiveness of such attacks is also overstated (locomotives were a lot harder to destroy than is depicted). In fact, it was not until early 1944 that allied air forces waged a systematic campaign against the western European railway system - as part of a plan to disrupt German transport capability prior to the invasion of France (D Day and the subsequent Normandy campaign).


    GRANT, F/O Duncan Marshall (J5982) - Distinguished Flying Cross - No.400 Squadron - Award effective 19 May 1943 as per London Gazette dated 25 May 1943 and AFRO 1247/43 dated 2 July 1943. Born in High River, Alberta, 8 April 1922; home in Trenton. Corporal in Royal Canadian Corps of Signals, 1938. Enlisted in Saskatoon, 12 September 1940. To No.2 Manning Depot, Brandon that day. To No.6 (BR) Squadron, Prince Rupert, 20 October 1940. To No..2 ITS, Regina, 22 December 1940; graduated 28 January 1941 when promoted LAC; to No.15 EFTS, Regina, 29 January 1941. To No.2 Manning Depot, 30 March 1941; to No.11 SFTS, Yorkton, 11 April 1941. Graduated and commissioned 4 July 1941. To "Y" Depot, Halifax, 5 July 1941; to RAF overseas, 19 July 1941. Taken on strength of No.3 PRC, Bournemouth, 19 July 1941; posted to No.400 Squadron 3 August 1941; promoted Flying Officer, 4 July 1942; promoted Flight Lieutenant, 3 June 1943. Killed in action (flak, Mustang AG577), 27 September 1943. A report of his death stated he had taken off at 1127 hours for a Rhubarb in the Paris area, accompanied by F/O Jessieman. They arrived over the French coast at about 1152 hours. Two minutes after crossing the coast they met accurate flak. They climbed to 1,200 feet, taking evasive action. At that height, Grant's aircraft turned to port and went into a steep descent from which it did not recover.Victories as follows: 27 March 1942, one Bf.109 destroyed near Ostend (Spitfire AA839); 15 April 1942, one FW.190 damaged, Le Treport-Abbeville (Spitfire BL897); 26 July 1942, one FW.190 destroyed and one damaged, northeast of Abbeville/Drucat (Spitfire BL972); 29 July 1942, one FW.190 destroyed ten miles south of Brighton (Spitfire BL897). Photos of him are PL-7524 (in a Tomahawk) and PL-7526 (climbing out of Tomahawk).

    "Flying Officer Grant has taken part in many operational sorties, during which he has personally destroyed one enemy aircraft and damaged eighteen locomotives. At all times he has displayed a fine fighting spirit and great determination, setting a magnificent example."

    NOTE: Public Records Office Air 2/8952 has recommendation dated 23 April 1943 with much more detail:

    "This officer made his first two operational flights during the Dieppe operation. Since that time he has carried out 26 successful sorties for a total of 49 operational hours.

    "On his first "Rhubarb" on October 22nd, 1942, his was one of four aircraft which penetrated to Amiens and successfully attacked the marshalling yards there. On his second "Rhubarb" on November 27th, 1942, he damaged four locomotives near Airel Junction in Normandy.

    "In the interval between December 3rd, 1942 and January 1st, 1943, this officer carried out 15 low offensive patrols over the Bay of Biscay and the Western Approaches.

    "On a "Rhubarb" in the Fecamp-Berqueux area of northern France on April 9th, 1943, Flying Officer Grant attacked and damaged twelve enemy locomotives. To accomplish this it was necessary for him to remain over enemy territory for 40 minutes. On April 13th, 1943, while carrying out a night "Ranger" in the area southeast of Paris, this officer sighted an aircraft which he later identified as a Dornier 217. Closing from dead astern he destroyed it in the vicinity of Melun/Villarouche aerodrome as it was about to land. While returning from another night "Ranger" in the Riems [Rheims ?] area he attacked and damaged two locomotives near Abbeville.

    "In all the operations which Flying Officer Grant has taken part he has set a high standard in the execution of his duties. This, together with a fine spirit and great determination whilst in action have been a great inspiration to all who have served with him. Through constant practice and diligence, plus natural ability as a pilot, this officer has personally destroyed one enemy aircraft and damaged eighteen locomotives in the past six months."

    Further Remarks: At No.2 ITS, placed 98th in a class of 183. Described as "Excellent type. Splendid background. Full out." His father was then a wireless instructor at No.1 WS.

    At No.15 EFTS he flew 29 hours dual and 42.05 solo on Tiger Moths plus 14 hours in Link. "Flying ability good but inclined to take advantage of rules. Has to be watched constantly." Graduated 15th in a class of 29.

    At No.11 SFTS flew Harvards - 40.55 day dual, 41.35 day solo, 2.15 night dual and 8.10 night solo. This included 17.40 on instruments plus 11.30 in Link. His flying was graded as "Above Average."

    On 1 September 1941 he had an accident at 1500 hours, RAF Station Oatlands, Wilts; with 30 hours on Tomahawks he taxied into a petrol bowser and bent all blades on airscrew; no other damage.

    On 16 February 1942 at Odiham he damaged Lysander R1434. By now he had 215 hours on all types and 6.25 on Lysanders. He had flown to Gatwick, and landed there for an exercise. Returning to Odiham, he was unaware of a broken tail wheel brace. His passenger (another pilot) did not know of it either. It may have occurred through a hard landing, taxying in rutted conditions (ground frozen) but nobody sure.

    On 28 February 1942 damaged Tomahawk AH884 heavily. He had 120 hours on type, 220 on all types.. He was landing out of wind, port wing lifted and starboard struck the ground; with starboard undercarriage then collapsing.

    Assessed 7 October 1942 by W/C R.C.A. Waddell, at which time he had flown 320 hours five minutes (171 in past six months). "This officer improves rapidly with experience and would be an asset to any unit."

    On 14 May 1943 reported damage to Mustang AM184 over France in a night sortie. He had 236 hours on all types, 13 hours on Mustangs. He reported, "I was on an operational trip and had no knowledge of damage to the aircraft until I had landed and there was a hole in the leading edge of the starboard mainplane. The hole had feathers and blood on it."


    MORTON, F/L John Alexander (J7451) - Distinguished Flying Cross - No.400 Squadron - Award effective 23 March as per London Gazette dated 3 April 1945 and AFRO 765/45 dated 4 May 1945. Born 1915 in Didsbury, Alberta; home there (farmer, ex-Royal Canadian Artillery); enlisted in Calgary 9 January 1941. Trained at No.2 ITS (graduated 8 May 1941), No.16 EFTS (graduated 3 July 1941) and No.1 SFTS (graduated 14 September 1941). Commissioned September 1941. Medal presented 9 July 1949.

    "On intruder operations Flight Lieutenant Morton has invariably displayed great skill, courage and determination. Prior to the invasion of France he participated in many missions. Many of these were completed in the face of heavy anti-aircraft fire and enemy aircraft were frequently encountered. Flight Lieutenant Morton has destroyed one enemy aircraft, damaged locomotives and achieved much success on photographic reconnaissance. His keenness and his devotion to duty have been an example to the squadron"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Orleans, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    1,325
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 4 Times in 3 Posts

    Default Correction !

    Reviewing my previous post re Grant, I realize that the victory list is completely wrong and is, in fact, a list of aerial victories credited to F.E. Green. The correst list for Grant is as follows:

    13 April 1943 - one Do.217 destroyed - Mustrang AP259 "R"
    9 May 1943 - four Bf.109s and FW.190s damaged on ground
    17 July 1943 - one Do.219 destroyed, Chartres
    9 August 1943 - one Ju.88 probably destroyed

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Canada, eh
    Posts
    1,217
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    To add to Hugh's excellent posts, the Do 217 on 13 April 1943 was 400 Squadron's first confirmed air to air kill.

  6. #6
    spitXII Guest

    Default Thanks !

    Hello gentlemen ,

    Thank you for your addition Hugh ! I confirm he was killed 28 September , not 27 ( or 29 as read elsewhere ) .

    Laurent

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •