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The Airmen's Stories - S/Ldr. T G Lovell-Gregg


Terence Gunion Lovell-Gregg was born in Wanganui, New Zealand on 19th September 1912, the son of Dr. John Lovell-Gregg and Dora Leila Lovell-Gregg.

He was educated at Nelson College. He was a brilliant scholar and intended to enter Otago University to study medicine but was held back because of his youth. He took flying lessons and became the youngest qualified pilot in Australasia.

Lovell-Gregg applied for a short service commission in the RAF in July 1930 but was considered 'too weak' and advised to take up rugby to improve his physique.



Lovell-Gregg travelled to England at his own expense in October 1930 and successfully applied to enter the RAF. He went to the RAF Depot, Uxbridge on 13th March 1931 and two weeks later was posted to 5 FTS, Sealand. With training completed he joined 41 Squadron at Northolt on 8th March 1932.

Lovell-Gregg went to CFS Wittering for an instructor's course on 25th September 1932 but on 28th February 1933 he was posted to 30 Squadron, operating in Wapitis from Mosul, Iraq. He returned to the UK in February 1935 and after a Floatplane Conversion Course at Calshot he returned to CFS, then at Upavon, for another instructors course. In February 1936 Lovell-Gregg was posted to 3 FTS Grantham, on the instructing staff.

On 16th September 1938 he went on Flying Examining Officer duties at HQ 26 Group at Hendon. Shortly after the outbreak of war Lovell-Gregg went to 15 FTS Lossiemouth, as an instructor.

On 21st December 1939 he went on Operations Room duties to RAF Finningley, moving in early January 1940 to the Operations Room at HQ 5 Group.

Lovell-Gregg was then posted to 6 OTU Sutton Bridge on 26th May 1940 and after converting to Hurricanes he joined 87 Squadron at Church Fenton on 15th June as a supernumerary. He took command on 12th July when the CO was posted away.

Aware of his lack of operational experience Lovell-Gregg allowed the experienced Flight Commanders to lead the squadron until he felt able to do so.

On 15th August 1940 the squadron was scrambled at 1730 hrs to intercept forty Ju87s, escorted by twenty Me110s and sixty Me109s. Lovell-Gregg led the squadron out of the sun in line-astern, straight at the 110s. His Hurricane was hit and caught fire.

He came down from 15000 feet, apparently under control and heading for Warmwell. Eye-witnesses said that the pilot appeared to change his mind and he circled the Abbotsbury area, skimmed low across a wood and a ploughed field and crashed in a copse, striking a large oak tree. Lovell-Gregg was thrown clear but was already dead when reached.

He is buried in Holy Trinity churchyard, Warmwell.



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