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Bernard J McGrattan


Bernard was from Utica, New York. Like many young men of the period he could not wait to fly in WW II. Prior to U.S. entry into the war he went north and joined the RCAF. After earning his wings as a Flying Officer, he accumulated 286 hours prior to transferring to the U.S. Eighth Air Force on 26 May 1943.
He was assigned to the 4th Fighter Group, 335th squadron with the commission of Lieutenant in September. Flying P-47s Thunderbolts, he scored his first victory in February 1944, shooting down an Fw-190. Shortly thereafter the group exchanged their P-47s for the new P-51 Mustangs. Bernard then shot down two twin-engine planes in March and followed with 3 1/2 victories in April. Meantime, he was appointed C.O. of "A" Flight as he became an "Ace".
In May he destroyed another Me-109, and becoming a captain, he celebrated with the destruction of another Fw-190. Having completed his tour of combat with 9 victories to his credit, he had his bags packed for return to the States on leave. However, on 6 June, when he was scheduled to leave, he did not want to miss D-Day. He begged to be included in the invasion and was reluctantly assigned to lead "Blue Flight" on a mission near Rouen, France. They were flying on the deck strafing any targets of opportunity when suddenly, out of the low lying clouds, 10-plus enemy fighters appeared on their tails. With no room to manoeuvre the four of them were shot down almost instantly and killed. The only one who escaped was Kidd Hofer, who had joined them as a fifth man in the flight.
Bernard had 8.5 victories to his credit, and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the air Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Purple Heart.


Units served with

  • 8th Air Force

    8th Air Force

    Eighth Air Force Bomber Command became the Eighth Air Force on February 1944, it oversaw bombardment of strategic targets in Europe until 1945. ...

  • 335th Fighter Squadron

    335th Fighter Squadron

    The 335th Fighter Squadron was the offspring of No. 121 (Eagle) Squadron RAF. Formed on 21 May 1941, No. 121 was the second of the three Eagle Squadrons composed of American volunteers flying out of England. They were known as the "Chiefs" and were...


  • 42-106576

    P-51 Mustang
    Assigned 335FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. Whilst strafing a truck convoy, section bounced by 15+ enemy fighters, A/C not seen after engagement began. Pilot Capt Bernard McGrattan KIA. 6-Jun-44. MACR 5611.

  • 43-6767

    P-51 Mustang
    Assigned to 335FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. Failed to Return bomber support mission, Squadron engaged 20+ enemy fighters, Lt Scarborough scored a Fw190 destroyed, before a fighter latched onto his tail and destroyed his A/C. Wounded, he baled out near Worms,...

  • 42-7936 "Pistol Packin Mama"

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    Assigned to 335FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF. One-time personal aircraft of (then) Lt. Fonzo "Snuffy" D. Smith. Transferred to 551FTS, 495FTG, 8AF USAAF. Transferred to 493FS, 48FG, 9AF USAAF.

Associated Place

  • Debden

    Military site : airfield
    RAF Debden, construction of which began in 1935, is perhaps most famous as a Battle of Britain fighter airfield, partly responsible for the defence of London in 1940. In 1942 it was also home to three RAF 'Eagle Squadrons’ of volunteer American pilots...


Event Location Date
Born Utica, NY, USA
Assigned Debden, Essex 14 September 1943 – 6 June 1944

Assigned to 335FS, 4FG, 8AF USAAF.

Promotion 20 December 1943

Promoted to 2nd Lieutenant.

Promotion 16 February 1944

Promoted to 1st Lieutenant.

Promotion 22 May 1944

Promoted to Captain.

Killed in action Neubourg, 67350 Dauendorf, France 6 June 1944

Whilst strafing truck convoy his section were bounced by 15+ enemy fighters. Shot down in P-51B 42-106576. KIA.
MACR 5611.

Lived in Utica, NY, USA


Date Contributor Update
18 October 2017 09:29:07 general ira snapsorter Changes to surname, nickname, events and aircraft associations

Merged with duplicate entry to include details from:
- MACR 5611;
- Paul Andrews, Project Bits and Pieces, 8th Air Force Roll of Honor database;

Date Contributor Update
26 February 2016 12:30:01 Al_Skiff Changes to unit associations

Eagle squadron re-alignment.

Date Contributor Update
08 March 2015 20:57:16 apollo11 Changes to middlename, highest rank, role, biography, awards, events, unit associations and place associations

Personal research & 'Eighty-One Aces of the 4th Fighter Group' by Frank Speer.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:04:31 AAM AAM ingest

Ted Damick, VIII Fighter Command pilots list