Mr John Grierson



Having joined the RAF but then regretted it, John tried to resign in 1931. However, his resignation being refused, he smuggled himself from where he was stationed in India into his D.H.60G Moth 'Rouge et Noir' (which he had bought from Glen Kidston, and which was painted red one side and - you guessed it - black the other), and flew home, making long hops to avoid R.A.F. aerodromes. "The business was settled in the end without a courtmartial, though not without a period of open arrest".

Next came a solo flight of 9,000 miles round Russia, and then an abortive attempt on the Arctic air route in Rouge et Noir equipped as a seaplane; a nose-over into a choppy sea at Reykjavik put paid to the attempt.

Rebuilt, and fitted with wheels and ski equipment, the little Moth finally carried Mr. Grierson round Eastern Europe in mid-winter.

Then, in 1934, he made a successful westbound Atlantic flight via Iceland in his de Havilland Fox Moth 'Robert Bruce'.

Transferred to Hawker and then Gloster as a test pilot; he was one of four pilots to fly Britain's first jet aircraft, the Gloster/ Whittle E.28/39.

Wing commander after WWII, then a Member of the Council of the Royal Geographical Society.

d. 21 May 1977 in Washington DC, aged 68. He was addressing a symposium at the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum to mark the 50th anniversary of Lindbergh's transatlantic flight when he was taken ill; he died a few hours later in hospital.


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