Rank & Name: G/C C.M.M. Grece DFC, DCM
Date of Death: 12/07/1954


Clair Mansell Maybury Grece was stationed with 59 Sqn in France in the first few months of the war as a P/O (pilot). He was a member of the small detachment that stayed behind in France after the rest of the squadron had left on the 20th May 1940. He was Officer Commanding "B" Flight by the time the Battle of Britain had begun, a position that he relinquished when he was posted to HQ-Flight on 12/09/40 and had reached the rank of F/L. He would later return to the Squadron and become Commanding officer in charge of 59 Sqn and in April 1942 was posted to No.6 OTU and later onto 405 Sqn. When war ended in Europe he was in command of 608 Sqn. After the war he became an Air Attache in Rome and from 1949-1951 he was C/O of the fighter station RAF Wattisham. He then was posted to RAF Middle Wallop where he took command as G/C (Group Captain).

Grece, his wife Joan and her uncle H.D Harmon died on 12th July 1954 when the Vega Gull they were flying in stalled and crashed to the ground. An inquiry a few weeks later suggested that Grece had failed to heed the warning signs that his aircraft was dangerously faulty in his hurry to return to Middle Wallop after holidaying abroad (although officially no blame was made). The Maw, James R Stevens.

On leaving 59 Squadron in April 1942, the following message from W/Cdr Grece was published in the squadron orders...

"I should like to place on record my very real appreciation to the loyalty & very hard work of the officers, NCO's and airmen of the Squadron during the period of my command. The last four months have been a difficult period but I feel that the Squadron has now approached again that high standard of efficiency which it achieved in 1939 in France, when I first joined it and which it maintained until 1941. My very best wishes will be with the Sqaudron always."

Grece's medals showing the Battle of Britain clasp and wings. (Image submitted by Simon Muggleton)


Further Information
Awardee of the Battle of Britain Clasp - Although entitlement was revoked by the Air Ministry in 1960 (read more).


Rest In Peace