Robert Hampton “Hammy” Gray VC, DSC
Lieutenant Robert Hampton “Hammy” Gray VC, DSC, RCNVR (2 November 1917 – 9 August 1945) was a Canadian naval pilot flying with the Fleet Air Arm in World War II.
On 9th August 1945 he led his section of Corsairs from HMS Formidable in a shipping strike off the island of Honshu. Gray’s aircraft was hit and set on fire, with his aircraft already in flames, Hampton proceeded to attack the Japanese destroyer Amakusa and with a direct hit from a bomb he dropped, sank the ship.
He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross, one of only two Fleet Air Arm personnel to receive the distinction in World War II. He was also honoured by the Japanese who were so impressed by his bravery that they built a memorial in his memory.
The citation for his VC stated:
The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the award of the VICTORIA CROSS for valour to: —
the late Temporary Lieutenant Robert Hampton GRAY, R.C.N.V.R.,
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.
ADMIRALTY Whitehall, 13th November 1945.