Death of Brierfield war hero Victor

A HEROIC Brierfield war veteran has died aged 90.

Victor Grainger, who lived in Chapel Street with his wife Irene of 68 years, diedn Wednesday, January 18th and his funeral was held at St John’s RC Church before a committal at Burnley Crematorium on Thursday, January 26th.

Born into a mining family in Derbyshire, he was put off working in the pit after an explosion in the local mine killed his father and other members of his family.

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Instead, he joined the Royal Navy in 1938, and would later joke with friends in retirement he jumped out of the pan into the fire as the Second World War broke out the following year.

Mr Grainger rose through the ranks and became Chief Petty Officer at an early age and spent most of the war on the destroyer HMS Bicester.

On the ship in 1942, he was an integral part of a secret convoy sent to save Malta from collapse and surrender which would have put the whole of the war strategy in the Mediterranean and North Africa in danger.

There, however, he would achieve his finest hour during Operation Pedestal, with the ship surviving five days of intense bombing as well as the threat of torpedoes and mines to not only arrive in Malta but begin the fight back against the Germans and Italians.

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This incredible feat was achieved despite a 1,000lb. bomb hitting the Bicester but not detonating, something a bomb disposal expert at the time described as a “one in a million” chance.

Mr Grainger was made a Freeman of Valletta for his part in Operation Pedestal and after the war was given the option of joining the New Zealand navy with a step up in rank.

However, he turned the opportunity down, and went to work in the pit at Bank Hall before moving on to make cathode ray tubes for television sets at Mullards, Simonstone.

After retiring, he moved to Blackpool with his wife, but the couple would soon return to Pendle when they moved to Brierfield claiming to miss the view of Pendle Hill.

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Mr Grainger was very knowledgeable on birds, something he gained in his youth living in rural Derbyshire, and enjoyed a game of darts at the Baltic Fleet pub on Briercliffe Road, Burnley..

Another aspect of his life he was well-known for was never being too far away from a drop of Pusser’s Rum and enjoying a pint at Walter Street Club.

He was a respected member of the Brierfield community and one of the town’s Remembrance Sunday stalwarts.

His wife Irene said: “He was a good man. I’ve lost my very best friend.”

Mr Grainger leaves his wife,ne, son Victor jnr and two grandchildren.