b. 02/11/1917 Trail, British Columbia, Canada. d. 09/08/1945 Onagawa, Japan.
Gray was born in Trail, British Columbia, Canada, but resided in Nelson from an early age. In 1940, following education at the University of Alberta and University of British Columbia, where he was a member of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity, he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve (RCNVR) at HMCS Tecumseh in Calgary, Alberta. Originally sent to England for training, Gray was sent back to Canada to train at RCAF Station Kingston where he qualified as a pilot for the British Fleet Air Arm in September 1941.
Gray was first assigned to the African theatre, flying Hawker Hurricanes for shore-based squadrons. After two years in Africa, he trained to fly the Corsair fighter and in 1944 he was assigned to 1841 Squadron, based on HMS Formidable. In August 1944, he took part in a series of unsuccessful raids against the German battleship Tirpitz, in Norway. On August 29, 1944, he was Mentioned in Despatches for his participation in an attack on three destroyers, during which his plane's rudder was shot off. On January 16, 1945, he received a further Mention, "For undaunted courage, skill and determination in carrying out daring attacks on the German battleship Tirpitz."
In April 1945, HMS Formidable joined the British Pacific Fleet. By July 1945, the carrier was involved in strikes on the Japanese mainland. Gray earned a Distinguished Service Cross for aiding in sinking a Japanese destroyer in the area of Tokyo.
For great valour in leading an attack on a Japanese destroyer in Onagawa Wan, on 9 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, and, although he was hit and his aircraft was in flames, he obtained at least one direct hit, sinking the destroyer. Lieutenant Gray has consistently shown a brilliant fighting spirit and most inspiring leadership.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: NOT PUBLICLY HELD.
BURIAL PLACE: BODY LOST AT SEA - ON HALIFAX MEMORIAL, NOVA SCOTIA.
Currie Barracks, Calgary, Alberta
Valiant Memorial, Ottawa