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Gravell, Karl Mander GC (Leading Aircraftman)

Killed in Flying Accident 1941-11-10

Birth Date: 1922-09-22 (age 19)

Born: Norrkoping, Sweden

Son of Carl Helge Gravell and Anna Lisa Gravell, of Vancouver, British Columbia.

Home: Vancouver, British Columbia

Enlistment: Vancouver, British Columbia

Enlistment Date: 1941-03-15

Decorations: GC

George Cross
2 WS- Wireless School
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Leading Aircraftman
Air Chief MarshalA/C/M
Air MarshalA/M
Air Vice MarshalA/V/M
Air CommodoreA/C
Group CaptainG/C
Wing CommanderW/C
Squadron LeaderS/L
Flight LieutenantF/L
Flying OfficerF/O
Pilot OfficerP/O
Warrant Officer 1st ClassWO1
Warrant Officer 2nd ClassWO2
Flight SergeantFS
Senior AircraftmanSAC
Leading AircraftmanLAC
Aircraftman 1st ClassAC1
Aircraftman 2nd ClassAC2
Wireless Air Gunner
Service Numbers

Citation of Valour

George Cross

The KING has been graciously pleased, on the advice of Canadian Ministers, to approve the posthumous award of the GEORGE. CROSS to the undermentioned: —

Leading Aircraftman K. M. Gravell (deceased), Royal Canadian Air Force.

In November, 1941, a training aircraft crashed and immediately burst into flames. Leading Aircraftman Gravell, who was under training as a wireless air gunner, managed to extricate himself from the wreckage and get clear. In spite of the intense shock caused by the loss of one eye and severe burns, suffered at the time of the crash, Leading Aircraftman Graveil's first and only thought was for the welfare of his pilot. The pilot was still in the aircraft and Gravell ignoring his own serious injuries and the fact that his clothes were ablaze attempted to get back to the flaming wreckage to pull him clear. He had barely reached the aircraft when he was dragged away and rolled on the ground to extinguish the flames which had, by this time, completely enveloped his clothing. Leading Aircraftman Gravell subsequently died from his burns. Had he not considered his pilot before his own safety and had he immediately proceeded to extinguish the flames on his own clothing, he would probably not have lost his life.

Britain Source London Gazette AFRO 1000-1001/42 dated 3 July 1942

Born in Norkkoping, Sweden, 24 September 1922. Educated in Sweden to 1936; at Kitsilano High School, 1937-1939; at King Edward High School, 1939-1940. Enlisted in Vancouver, 15 March 1941. Posted to No.2 Manning Depot that day as AC2; to No.12 SFTS, Brandon, 16 May 1941 (guard duty); to No.2 Wireless School, 19 July 1941. Promoted to LAC, 18 August 1941. Not the most disciplined pupil; on 3 July 1941 he forfeited seven days pay; on 5 September 1941 he was awarded 120 hours detention.

At 2 Wireless School, Calgary Alberta, Gravell earned the George Cross when his Menasco Moth 4833 crashed and burned twenty miles north-west of Calgary, Flying Officer J Robinson also killed.

The aircraft crashed in the yard of the Big Springs School and a teacher, Mrs F Walsh and her pupils pulled Gravell away from the wreckage. They rolled him on the ground to extinguish his clothing and rendered first aid until medical officers arrived. Mrs Walsh was burned about the face and suffered shock but ignored her injuries until Gravell was tended to. She was awarded the George Medal for her heroic efforts. Leading Aircraftman Wireless Operator Air Gunner Gravell is buried in the Mountain View Cemetery at Vancouver, British Columbia. Detail provided by H. Halliday, Orleans, Ontario

Canada Source Canadian Virtual War Memorial

Commonwealth War Graves Commission Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Canada Primary Source Library and Archives Canada Service Files (may not exist)


Block 4 Plot 7 Lot 2

Crew on Moth, Menasco II 4833

de Havilland Menasco Moth DH82-C4

(DND Archives Photo, PCN-4631)(Source Harold A Skaarup Web Page)
de Havilland DH 82C2 Menasco Moth Mk. I (Serial No. 4861),
preserved with the Canada Air and Space Museum, Ottawa, Ontario.

In the event that U-boat attacks caused a break in supply of British-made engines to Canada, American-built Menasco engines were installed in some Canadian-built Tiger Moths. This is the major difference between the Menasco and de Havilland Tiger Moths. Because this engine could drive a large generator, most Menasco Moths were used for radio training.

The Menasco engine was not as powerful as the Gypsy engine, resulting in a somewhat reduced performance. This loss of power made the Menasco Moth a less than ideal pilot-training airplane and contributed to the Menasco Moth being used almost exclusively for radio training.

YouTube Features Menasco engined Tiger Moth

General Harold A Skaarup Web Page

CASPIR Aircraft Groups:
RCAF On Strength (136), Canadian Aircraft Losses (6)
last update: 2023-06-12 18:03:35

Moth, Menasco II 4833

With No. 2 Wireless School at Calgary, Alberta at time of crash. Crashed in the school yard of Big Springs School (in the Simmonds Valley near Calgary, Alberta). Radio operator pupil, LAC Karl Mander Gravell, extracted himself from the wreckage, but re-entered the burning wreck to try to save the pilot. Both subsequently died of burns. LAC Gravell, was awarded the George Cross for his self sacrificing actions in trying to save Flying Officer Robinson and Mrs. F. Walsh, a teacher from the school, was awarded the George Medal for her heroic acts.
1941-03-11 Taken on Strength 2019-08-20
1941-November-10 Accident: 2 Wireless School Loc: Aerodrome Names: Gravell | Robinson
1942-08-18 Struck off Strength Struck off after crashing and burning on 10 November 1941. See comments. 2019-08-20

2 WS- Wireless School (2 Wireless School)

Trainees in the "Wireless Air Gunner" (WAG) stream spent 24 weeks at a Wireless Schoo learning the theory and application of wireless communications. This included signalling with lights and flags as well as radio. Their "WAG" training was completed with four weeks at a Bombing & Gunnery School.
  • RCAF Roundel - RCAF Station Calgary AB - 2 WS

  • General SAIT Website

  • 1940-09-01 Primary Location Calgary Canada Currently the home of Southern Alberta Institute of Technology SAIT

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