The Airmen's Stories - F/O D N Grice
Dennis Neve Grice, of Ealing, was born on 3rd March 1912 and commissioned in the RAFO in 1931.
Granted an extension to his commission in 1936, he relinquished it on 7th June 1939 on being granted a five-year commission in the RAFVR.
Called up on 25th September 1939, Grice was posted to 600 Squadron at Northolt on 9th July 1940.
He was captain of Blenheim L8665, shot down in flames on 8th August by Oberleutnant Sprick of III/JG26.
Grice stayed at the controls of his burning aircraft, guiding it clear of Ramsgate before crashing into the sea. He and the two members of his crew, Sergeant FJ Keast, gunner, and AC1 JBW Warren, radar operator, were all killed.
Grice was 28. He was cremated at Charing Crematorium, Kent.
In 2006 John Rowe, a Regional Volunteer for the war memorial charity War Memorials Trust, felt that the town of Ramsgate owed this crew a debt of gratitude. He proposed that a new memorial be created in the town to commemorate this crew's sacrifice. With local support from the Ramsgate Society, the Ramsgate Charter Trustees and the local branch of the Royal Air Force Association fund raising was commenced and efforts initiated to trace members of the crew's families. Unfortunately, in the event, only relatives of the air gunner Sgt Francis John Keast were traced and on the day of the unveiling 16 members of his family were in attendance.
The site of the former Ramsgate Hospital, which was being redeveloped into luxury apartments, was identified as an appropriate site.
The memorial plaque was designed by a local artist, Mr Denys le Fevre FRSA, and made at a local stonemasons in black slate with gold lettering. On the 3rd March 2006 Sir Sandy Bruce-Lockhart, former leader of Kent County Council, unveiled the new Blenheim memorial as a part of an overall ceremony at which the refurbished Peace Memorial was handed back formally to the people of Ramsgate. Members of Sgt Keast’s family laid 3 wreaths, 1 for each of the crew members.