Gordon Anthony Grill was born in Wales and moved to Chelmsford by 1939, where he worked at the Hoffmann’s bearing factory. During the war he served as a wireless operator/air gunner in the Royal Air Force’s Coastal Command. He was killed when his aircraft, returning from an anti-submarine sortie over the Atlantic, crashed in Scotland. His home was in Woodland Road, Chelmsford.

Gordon Anthony GRILL, Sergeant, 59 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

Killed in an aircraft crash in Scotland. Aged 21

Because of bad weather the aircraft was diverted to land at R.A.F. Tain in the far north-east of Scotland. However, on 18th August 1944, after descending through cloud the aircraft crashed into moorland at Kildonan, Helmsdale, Scotland, almost a hundred miles short of its destination.

The accident claimed the life of 21 year-old Gordon and seven others. The only survivor was the pilot, Pilot Officer John Lloyd. The other victims were: Flying Officer (Pilot) Ronald Le Grow (aged 26), Flying Officer (Navigator) Robert Seigler (aged 30), Sergeant (Navigator) Harry Newell (aged 23), Sergeant (Flight Engineer) Ernest Lowe, Pilot Officer Alan McLay (aged 21), Sergeant (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner) Donald Pratt (aged 21), Sergeant (Air Gunner) Alan Christie (aged 19) ,and Sergeant (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner) Thomas Instone (aged 23).

At the time of his death Gordon's mother was still living at 21 Woodland Road, Chelmsford.

Gordon’s funeral service was held at All Saints’ Church, Boarded Barns on 25th August 1944 preceding burial at Chelmsford Borough Cemetery (grave 5682). The ceremony was conducted by the Rev. Ashley Turner.

Gordon's mother died in 1949, aged 52.


Gordon was born in Wales in 1923, the second son of Frederick Grill and Annabel Grill (nee Owens). His three siblings included William Frederick Grill (1921-1998).

Gordon's father died in 1939.

During the Second World War Gordon served as Sergeant (Wireless Operator Air Gunner) 1607109 in 59 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. the squadron was based at Ballykelly in Northern Ireland and was part of R.A.F. Coastal Command.

Prior to joining the R.A.F. Gordon was employed in the R.I. Department at the Hoffmann ball-bearing factory in Chelmsford.

On the night of 17th-18th August 1944 Gordon was one of ten crew members on board a a Mark V Liberator aircraft (BZ724) taking part in an anti-submarine mission over the North Atlantic.