Personal info

  • Name: Karl Mander GRAVELL
  • D.O.B: 27th September, 1922
  • D.O.A: 10th November, 1941
  • Award: George Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Leading Aircraftman, No 2 Wireless School, Calgary, Royal Canadian Air Force

Calgary, Canada 10 November 1941

10 November 1941

On 10 November 1941, the De Havilland Tiger Moth biplane No 4833 in which Leading Aircraftman K M Gravell was being trained crashed in Symon’s Valley, north of Calgary and burst into flames. Although badly injured Gravell attempted to rescue the pilot, Flying Officer James Robinson. He suffered serious burns and was eventually pulled away by Mrs Francis Walsh, a teacher from the adjoining Big Springs School. She was awarded the GM for her role in the action.

Citation

 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 Gravell’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. 

Third Supplement to The London Gazette of 5 June 1942. 11 June 1942, Numb. 35587, p. 2533; see also The Canada Gazette of 13 June 1942, Vol. 75, Numb. 50, p. 5202

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