Frank Morton GRIGGS DFC, DFM

GRIGGS, Frank Morton

Service Number: 400468
Enlisted: 14 September 1940
Last Rank: Flight Lieutenant
Last Unit: No. 5 Operational Training Unit RAAF Wagga
Born: Swan Hill, Victoria, Australia, 1 December 1921
Home Town: Vinifera, Victoria
Schooling: Swan Hill High School, Victoria, Australia
Occupation: Bank Clerk National Bank Barham, NSW
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World War 2 Service

14 Sep 1940: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Aircraftman 2 (WW2), SN 400468, Aircrew Training Units
15 Sep 1940: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Aircraftman 2 (WW2), SN 400468, Aircrew Training Units, Empire Air Training Scheme
1 Jun 1942: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Sergeant, SN 400468, No. 214 Squadron (RAF), Air War NW Europe 1939-45
1 May 1944: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Flying Officer, SN 400468, No. 109 Squadron (RAF), Air War NW Europe 1939-45
10 Oct 1944: Discharged Royal Australian Air Force, Flight Lieutenant, SN 400468, No. 5 Operational Training Unit RAAF Wagga

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Biography contributed by Steve Larkins

Group Captain Frank Morton GRIGGS, DFC, DFM

Frank Morton GRIGGS enlisted as S/No. 400468 ( later O35376) on the 14th of September, 1940. Following enlistment, he trained as an Airman Pilot in Australia, Canada and the UK. As an Airman Pilot, Frank was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal ( DFM) prior to be commissioned to Pilot Officer. He was progressively promoted through to Flight Lieutenant ( FLTLT) and was further honoured by the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross. FLTLT Frank Morton GRIGGS, DFC, DFM, requested early discharge to be placed on the Reserves list and take up a position with Australian National Airlines. His request was granted and he discharged as a FLTLT at No. 5 Operational Training Unit on the 10th of October, 1944.

Frank Griggs flew Short Stirlings with No. 214 Squadron, and later DH Mosquitos with No. 109 Squadron.

Frank Griggs re-enlsited post WW2 in 1951 and flew Avro Lincolns with No.1 Squadron, and was eventually promoted to Group Captain.  An oral history recording, describing his service and experiences is available as a link in the sidebar.

He and the rest of his crew were awarded the DFM for their actions during a raid on 27 June 1944.  They were flying Short Stirling BU-P tail number N3751, from 214 'Federated States of Malaya' Squadron based at RAF Stradishall.  After bombing the target (Bremen) the crew encountered Luftwaffe night fighters who often frequented the bomber routes home. Enduring an unforgettable night of horror the aircraft and crew, although severely damaged by flak, attacked by five enemy fighters and shot at over the sea managed to bring their aircraft home. At 0500 be it a miracle or skill, returning to base, the aircraft skidded down the runway wheels up and came to a rest. Although not officially verified yet it is almost certain that Stirling BU-P never flew again. All surviving crew members were awarded the DFM. The citation as follows tells the harrowing story:


Award of the Distinguished Flying Medal to:

These airmen were members of the crew of an aircraft detailed to attack Bremen" on ' the night' of 27th June, 1942, Sergeant Griggs was acting as captain. The objective was successfully bombed., but over the target area the aircraft sustained much damage from anti-aircraft fire. One of the starboard engines was hit and put out of action. Shortly afterwards the bomber was subjected to an attack by an enemy fighter, fire from which caused further damage. Almost immediately a second fighter opened fire and Sergeant Wildey, the 1st wireless operator, was wounded in the arm. The first fighter then returned to the attack but was met with a long and vicious burst from Sergeant Waddicar's guns which sent the enemy aircraft spinning towards the ground, where it exploded on impact.

Some time later, after crossing Holland, Sergeant O'Hara, the navigator, who had "skilfully guided his captain' thus far, observed 2' enemy fighters closing in. Sergeant Watson, who was tending the injured wireless operator, immediately attempted to man his turret but it was jammed. With the assistance of Sergeant O'Hara, who held his legs, he managed to reach his guns and he then delivered an effective burst at the leading fighter, which caused it to dive towards the sea completely out of-control. Meanwhile, Sergeant Waddicar, with commendable ingenuity, had temporarily repaired one of his guns which had failed and opened fire at the second aircraft from close range.. The attacker dived away and exploded before hitting the water! The bomber was not yet out of danger, being subjected to machine gun fire from the sea. A few minutes later another fighter appeared opening fire with a long burst but Sergeant Waddicar's return fire caused it to break off the engagement.

Sergeant Griggs, displaying fine airmanship, eventually flew his severely damaged aircraft safely back to base where he made a crash landing. Throughout the operation, these airmen displayed unflinching courage, great fortitude and splendid team work in foiling the attacks of 5 enemy fighters, 3 of which were shot down. Their conduct upheld the highest 'traditions of the Royal Air Force

Pilot: Aus/400468 Sergeant Frank Morton Griggs RAAF DFM
Navigator:1378114 Sergeant Arthur 'O'Hara DFM
527989 Sergeant Thomas Noel Castree Prosser DFM
Wireless Operator:1052356 Sergeant 'William Wildey DFM - Injured
Air Gunner:953982 Flight Sergeant James Ian Cunningham Waddicar DFM
Air Gunner:1014907 Sergeant Ronald Watson DFM
Air Gunner:1330947 Sgt Horace Arthur William Sewell - Eastborne (Ocklynge) Cemetery Sussex Plot Z. Grave 670.