Surviving congratulatory telegrams about a medal award, sent by one’s old Commanding Officer, seem to be somewhat rare. Often it was the case that men were still with their squadrons when their medal awards came through, so there was no need for such a telegram. When telegrams were indeed sent, it appears that they were seldom preserved, either by the men or by their families.
George Granger was the Flight Engineer for the Montgomery crew. He must have been on home leave – between leaving 97 Squadron and his posting to 1656 HCU (Heavy Conversion Unit) at RAF Lindholme – when he received the telegram. It is dated 7 December 1943. As recorded in his log book, his last operation with 97 Squadron, the 45th and the one which completed his tour, was on 25 November. His next log book entry is dated 19 December – it concerns a flight at Lindholme, where he was now serving as an instructor.
The whole crew were decorated at the same time. Don Montgomery, the pilot, and Edward Cohn, both Pilot Officers, received the DFC, the rest of the crew received DFMs. On another page, we will share the details of this 97 Squadron crew, who all survived the war and had a crew reunion around 1970.
The family must have been enormously proud of the high honour which George had received as, in addition to the telegram, they kept the invitation to the investiture on 31 October 1944, together with one of the three tickets to Buckingham Palace.