August 10, 2020 – The Royal Canadian Navy’s sixth Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS) will be named in honor of Lieutenant Robert Hampton Gray RCNVR, a Canadian naval hero of the Second World War.
In addition to the ship the children’s school at HMCS Shearwater was also named in his honor.
Lieutenant Robert Hampton Gray joined the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve in 1940, and served as a pilot in the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm. Lt Gray embarked on HMS Formidable with 1841 Squadron, which joined the war in the Pacific as part of Operation ICEBERG in April 1945.
Lt Gray was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously, for courage and determination in carrying out daring air strikes on the Japanese destroyer HIJMS Amakusa. On August 9, 1945 he led two flights of Corsair aircraft to attack naval vessels in Onagawa Bay. He opened the attack run flying straight into concentrated anti-aircraft fire, and was hit almost immediately. With his aircraft on fire, and one bomb lost, he continued the attack and released his remaining bomb on the escort vessel HIJMS Amakusa, causing the ship to capsize and sink. His aircraft then crashed into the sea, and his body was never recovered.