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1. Name
Peter Percival NELSON-GRACIE
2. Date Commissioned
1 January 1938
3. Date retired
16 June 1948
Died in Kenya date unknown
4. Rank
Major (WS)
5. Awarded wings
June 1941
6. Flying schools
No 1 FTS Netheravon 23 December 1940
RNAS Yeovilton (Fighter course) 9 June 1941
RAF MilIfield (Fighter Leader Course) 23 October 1944
7. Aircraft types flown
Hurricane, Wildcat, Hellcat, Corsair, Fulmar
8. Squadrons
808 Sqdn. 26 August 1941 - 16 December 1941
803 Sqdn. 24 April 1942 - 10 August 1942 Formidable
803 Sqdn. 11 August 1942 - 6 December 1942 Ashore - Africa
803 Sqdn. 7 December 1942 - 14 February 1943 Illustrious
877 Sqdn. 1 April 1943 - 14 March 1944 Kipanga, Africa
1843 Sqdn. 16 October 1944 - 10 February 1945
9. Aircraft Carriers
Ark Royal 26 August 1941 - 16 December 1941
Formidable 24 April 1942 - 10 August 1942
Illustrious 7 December 1942 - 12 February 1943
Arbiter 11 February 1945 - 16 April 1945
Formidable 4 July 1945 - 9 October 1945
Implacable 10 October 1945 - 4 June 1946
10. Senior Appointments
Commanding Officer 877 Sqdn. 1 April 1943
Commanding Officer 1843 Sqdn. 16 October 1944
Wing Leader No 10 Fighter Wing
Wing Leader No 3 Naval Fighter Wing 11 February 1945
2 Air Group Leader 1st Div. 1st AC Sqdn. 4 July 1945
Air Group Commander No 8 CAG 10 October 1945
I/C School of Naval Air Warfare 1 July 1946 - 4 October 1947
11.Decorations
1939-45 War medals
Atlantic, Aircrew Europe, Africa, Pacific, Burma, Defence.
12. General
Although Nelson Gracie did not get his wings until the war was twenty months old and he did not get to his first squadron until August 1941, from then onwards hc was deeply involved in front line units, and a study of the foregoing record shows a continuous progress from tail end pilot to Air Group Commander. Unfortunately, although the appointments suggest, for example, that he was in Ark Royal when she was sunk there is nothing in writing. Likewise, although he was in action in Ceylon against the Japanese the only information is a story told to the writer that on 5 April 1942 after an air battle he forced landed on the Galle Face Green in Colombo and calmly ambled into the Galle Face Hotel and ordered breakfast. Similarly, although he is known to have seen action in the Pacific the only information has come from Lieutenant Colonel R. Hay who quotes "he was hot stuff in the Pacific".

He was certainly in the last phase of the war against Japan as Air Group Leader in the Formidable, in the 1st Aircraft Carrier Squadron, followed by a period up to 4 June 1946 in Implacable as Air Group Commander of No.8 Carrier Air Group. On return to UK he was then appointed as Officer-in-Charge of the School of Naval Air Warfare although his substantive rank was still only Lieutenant but serving in the rank of Acting Lieutenant Colonel.

It was at this time that I met him and invited him into Stonehouse Barracks for lunch, having myself reverted to Corps Duty a little earlier. He was clearly shattered at the thought of life in barracks after several years of aviation, and it was not at all surprising that in 1948 he retired at his own request and went to Kenya.