VC Winner's Heroism Told By Admiral
Admiral Sir Philip Vian, commander of the British Pacific fleet, recently wrote Mr. and Mrs. J. B. Gray of Nelson, parents of Canada’s new VC, Lt. Roberton Hampton Gray, RN, to pay tribute to their son’s valor. The letter follows:
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Gray:
“By now you will have heard the tragic news of the loss of your son “missing and believed killed.” I am afraid there is hardly any chance at all of his survival.
“He was leading an attack on a large Japanese destroyer and was last seen to attack it at very close range. The two bombs he was carrying were beautifully aimed and hi[t?] the destroyer and sank her; but as he passed over her he was seen to have been hit and crashed on the far side of her.
“It was a wonderful, brave attack.
“As you will have heard he received the DSC. This was for an equally brave attack earlier on one of these operations.
“Please accept all my sympathy and that of my officers and men of his squadron.
“Your son had been more than a year with me and I knew him very well indeed.
“He was the best and bravest fighter pilot in the ship and everybody loved him.
“The tragedy is all the worse coming so close to the end. Once more I tender you our very deepest personal sympathy.”
[continues underneath photo of Admiral Vian]
PROUD OF VC PILOT, Admiral Sir Philip Vian described Lt. "Hammy" Gray's attack on a Japanese destroyer as "a wonderful, brave act," in a letter to the dead flier's parents at Nelson.