Hobby Master HA8204 Royal Canadian Navy Chance-Vought FG-1D Corsair Fighter - Reserve Pilot Lt. Robert Hampton Gray (VC), 1841 Squadron, August 1945 (1:48 Scale)
"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 August 9th, 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, November 13th, 1945
Its gull-wing shape made it instantly recognizable. Its characteristic sound while in an attack dive led the Japanese to call it "The Whistling Death." Combined with its high speed, agility and toughness, the Vought F4U Corsair was one of the finest fighters ever built. Originally thought to be too powerful to fly from a carrier, the Corsair weaved a path of destruction in battle after battle during WWII, totally outclassing the much-feared Zero. The last of the great piston-engine fighters, the Corsair went on to become an important component of the US naval air power during the Korean War. Even while it was being replaced by jet aircraft, pilots flying this tough warbird were credited with downing a few MiG-15 jet fighters.
Pictured here is a 1:48 scale replica of a Royal Canadian Navy FG-1D Corsair that was piloted by Reserve pilot Lt. Robert Hampton Gray (VC), who was attached to 1841 Squadron, during August 8th, 1945.
Wingspan: 10 inches
Length: 8-1/4 inches
Release Date: August 2012
Historical Account: "Hammy" - Robert Hampton "Hammy" Gray VC, DSC (November 2nd, 1917 August 9th, 1945) was a Canadian naval officer, pilot, and recipient of the Victoria Cross (VC) during World War II, one of only two members of the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm to have been thus decorated in that war.
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 29th, 1944, he was Mentioned in Dispatches for his participation in an attack on three destroyers, during which his plane's rudder was shot off. On January 16th, 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. The award was not announced until August 21st, 1945, when the notice appeared in the London Gazette with the citation, "For determination and address in air attacks on targets in Japan".
On August 9th, 1945, at Onagawa Bay, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, Lieutenant Gray led an attack on a group of Japanese naval vessels, sinking the Etorofu class, escort ship Amakusa before his plane crashed into the bay.