David Souter GRANT

GRANT, David Souter

Service Number: 25892
Enlisted: 1 May 1942
Last Rank: Able Seaman
Last Unit: HMAS Leeuwin
Born: Dulnain Bridge, Inverness-shire,Scotland, 10 May 1923
Home Town: Footscray, Maribyrnong, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Radiographer
Died: Emphysema, Bairnsdale, Victoria, Australia, 8 August 1995, aged 72 years
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
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World War 2 Service

1 May 1942: Enlisted Royal Australian Navy, Ordinary Seaman, SN 25892, HMAS Lonsdale
24 Aug 1944: Discharged Royal Australian Navy, Able Seaman, SN 25892, HMAS Leeuwin

Help us honour David Souter Grant's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Sue Grant

David Souter Grant joined the British Navy in 1939 as a Boy Second Class. He was sent to the HMS Caledonia for training.

By Christmas 1939 his training was cut short due to the outbreak of war and he was ready to be drafted to sea.

He was sent to the Far East on a light cruiser, Danae, which was part of an escort squadron.

Once the Japanese came into the war, he was put on a mine sweeper, MMS51, and sent as far south as possible, away from fighting areas, with the intention of handing the ship over to the Australian Navy at Darwin.

On 4th March, 1942 it was part of a convoy consisting of the Anking, Francol and MMS51 being escorted by the Australian sloop, HMAS Yarra, which was attacked by 3 Japanese heavy cruisers, Atago, Takao and Maya, and destroyers, Arashi and Nowaki, 280 miles south of Java.

There were only 14 survivors from the MMS51 and they were picked up on 7th March, 1942 about by a Dutch steamer, Tjimanoek. He was taken to Fremantle and he was handed over to naval authorities. He was sent to Melbourne on the 'Gorgon' and, upon arrival in Melbourne, he was billetted with civilian families.

He was regarded as a survivor of the Battle of the Java Sea and transferred to the Royal Australian Navy to help replace Australians that had been lost. He was put into the RAN for two years or the duration of the war, whichever was the least.  

Initially he was based on Gabo Island which was a watching station and he was the only gunner assisting the signlaman.

He was recalled to the UK in May 1944 via the US. 

He was drafted to HMS Victorious, a aircraft carrier that was sent out to join the British Pacific Fleet. The British Pacific Fleet was made of the Victorious, Formidable, Indefatigable, Indomitable and one other heavy carrier with armoured flight decks. They were attacked by Japanese kamikaze pilots.

The war ended and he was sent to Hiroshima, Japan, aboard the Victorious.

He was sent back to Australia on the battle class destroyer, Barfleur, where he married.

He was taken to Malta on the Bonaventure and joined up with an escort force that became part of the Palestine patrol. While there he undertook bomb disposal training.