Hermes' Wings

History, Writing and Personal Musings


Although a veteran fighter pilot and a respected leader of men, Stanley Bernard Grant (31 May 1919-6 July 1987) has died that great death befallen to those who live through battle — the eventual death of being forgotten. An early volunteer, Grant had earned his commission as Pilot Officer in December 1938. At the outbreak of the Battle of Britain three years later, he was a Flying Officer in the unremarkable 65 Squadron, and shot down a single Me110 for certain. He remained in England until March 1942, when he led a force of Spitfire fighters into Malta and took command of 249 Squadron. More combat followed and there was much shooting from Grant, who claimed several planes destroyed, until scoring his first conclusive kills on March 25, downing a Stuka and an Me109. Throughout that summer, Grant led 249 Squadron with some flair, ensuring that the squadron scored heavily, even if he did not. Yet, there is no doubt that he suffered from a slight streak of pride. Denis Barnham who had known Grant in England, saw him at a dinner at the Xara Palace that April. “Standing in front of me in his immaculate uniform, yet leaning back from me with his arms folded [is Stan Grant},” Barnham wrote. “He was a flight commander in the old days and now he’s a squadron leader…He seems vaguely amused that I’ve become a flight commander myself.” On the flip side, there is no doubt that Grant was also a hard worker. Photos exist of him doing manual labor at Takali airfield.

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