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Grant Moore Lindeman (1913–2000)

by Kristen Alexander

This article was published online in 2023

Grant Lindeman, 1942

Grant Lindeman, 1942

photo provided by author

Grant Moore Lindeman (1913–2000), air force officer, oyster farmer, and cattle farmer, was born on 1 December 1913 at Darlinghurst, Sydney, only child of Sydney-born parents Grant Bramhall Lindeman, general medical practitioner (later a dermatologist), and his wife Irene, née Wilkinson. The family moved from Gunnedah, New South Wales, to Sydney in 1914. Grant attended Edgecliff Preparatory School and Sydney Grammar School (1927–32) where he was a keen rower. He sat the Leaving certificate in 1932, matriculated at the University of Sydney and began studying economics in 1933, but did not complete a degree. Passionate about flying, he enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) to train as an air cadet at Point Cook, Victoria, on 16 July 1934 and graduated as a pilot officer in June 1935. Shortly afterwards he embarked for Britain and in August received a short service commission in the Royal Air Force (RAF) for five years. He served in Britain and Egypt, and was attached to various units before joining No. 166 Squadron, then functioning as an air observer school at Leconfield, East Riding of Yorkshire. In March 1937 he was promoted to flying officer, and to flight lieutenant in March 1939. World War II broke out in September.

Lindeman’s commission was due to expire in 1940, but he chose to remain with the RAF. In June that year, as an acting squadron leader (substantive, March 1942), he helped form No. 19 Operational Training Unit with which he instructed bomber crews. He was mentioned in dispatches in January and September 1941. From September to December 1941 he commanded a flight in No. 102 Squadron in missions over France and Germany.

In December the same year he was promoted to temporary wing commander and appointed commanding officer of No. 455 Squadron, RAAF, an Australian squadron equipped with Hampdens and attached to No. 5 Bomber Group, conducting bombing operations over France and Germany, and minelaying in the English Channel. Under his command, the initially disorganised squadron quickly came to hold a ‘very honoured position’ (Lawson [1951], 83) within the group. In March 1942 his unit was transferred to No. 18 Group, Coastal Command, to attack German shipping. He developed a reputation as an able commanding officer who was not afraid to stand up to higher authority. Though No. 5 Group wanted to retain the most experienced crews when the squadron transferred, he argued successfully to take some of his best with him. The tactics he developed during these operations became a standard for RAF torpedo bombing.

No. 455 Squadron was deployed to north-west Russia on Operation Orator in September 1942, protecting British convoys taking war supplies to the Soviet Union. Although pressed by No. 18 Group headquarters to fly to Russia in dangerous weather, he put the welfare of his crews first and refused to leave until conditions had improved. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his leadership during that operation.

 On being transferred from No. 455 Squadron in February 1943, Lindeman left a well-trained unit, and took with him a reputation as a wing commander who flew with his men on operations. He was appointed chief flying officer, No. 1 Torpedo Training Unit, on 6 February 1943. On 2 June that year he was mentioned in dispatches for a third time—one of a select group of Australian airmen to have been so recognised. The next day at Christ Church, Kincardine, Scotland, he married Philippa (Pip) Carey Fraser, a member of the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force. In January 1944 Lindeman was appointed officer-in-charge of training, No. 78 Operational Training Unit, Headquarters No. 19 Group, and on 27 October 1944, acting group captain and commander of RAF Station Ein Shemer, Palestine. On 1 January 1945 he was appointed OBE in recognition of his training work in the lead-up to the Allied invasion of Europe in 1944.

After the war Lindeman chose not to take a permanent commission in the RAF, and returned to Australia with his wife and young son. In 1948 he was granted the first of a series of oyster leases at Lemon Tree Passage, Port Stephens, New South Wales. Soon after, he joined the RAAF Reserve at Williamtown, where he served part time with the temporary rank of wing commander. He surrendered the leases after his father’s death in 1968 and, using his inheritance, went into partnership with his son raising cattle near Armidale.

Known to all, including his family, as ‘Lindy,’ Lindeman retired from the RAAF Reserve in 1970 but maintained his love of aviation, writing in his seventieth year that, ‘if I had the choice of any aircraft I would like to fly it would be a Tiger Moth for an hour on a grass aerodrome on a sunny morning’ (Lindeman c. 1987). He was remembered as ‘an enormously respected leader’ (Gordon 1995, 20). In his private life his friends were important to him, and he enjoyed tennis, swimming, sailing, and pottery. He died at Armidale on 3 August 2000, and was cremated, being survived by his wife and their children Nicholas and Joanna.

Research edited by Peter Woodley

Select Bibliography

  • Alexander, Kristen. Jack Davenport: Beaufighter Leader. Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 2009
  • Australian War Memorial. AWM65, 3191, Lindeman, Grant Moore
  • Gordon, Ian. Strike and Strike Again: 455 Squadron RAAF 1944–45. Belconnen, ACT: Banner Books, 1995
  • Herington, John. Air War Against Germany and Italy: 1939–1943. Vol. 3 of Series 3 (Air) of Australia in the War of 1939–1945. Canberra: Australian War Memorial, 1954
  • Lawson, John. Four Five Five: The Story of 455 (RAAF) Squadron. Melbourne: Wilke & Co, [1951]
  • Lindeman, Grant. ‘Flying Days.’ Unpublished manuscript, c. 1987. Private collection. Copy held on ADB file
  • Lindeman, Grant. ‘Lemontree Saga.’ Unpublished manuscript, n.d. Private collection. Copy held on ADB file
  • Raebel, Geoffrey W. The RAAF in Russia1942. Loftus, NSW: Australian Military History Publications, 1997

Citation details

Kristen Alexander, 'Lindeman, Grant Moore (1913–2000)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published online 2023, accessed online 23 June 2024.

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