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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.


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No. 9 Squadron
1941 No. 9 Squadron Wellington IC R1288 WS-D F/O. Gavin Lydford Lawson

Operation: Koln (Cologne) Germany

Date: 1/2nd March 1941 (Saturday/Sunday)

Unit: No. 9 Squadron

Type: Wellington IC

Serial: R1288

Code: WS-D

Base: RAF Honington, Suffolk

Location: Crashed into the North Sea off Spurn Head, Yorkshire

Pilot: F/O. Hugh Gavin Lydford Lawson. 40307. RAF. Age 21. Killed (1)

2nd Pilot: Sgt. James Noel Murray. 968178. RAFVR. Age? Killed

Obs: Sgt. John Nevil Huddlestone. 938919. RAFVR. Age 20. Killed (2)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Alfred Ernest Waters. 639743. RAF. Age 21. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Eric Routledge. 942668. RAFVR. Age 24. Killed (3)

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Douglas Alfred Thomas Heslop. 549514. RAF. Age 21. Killed (4)


We are keen to contact relatives of F/O. Lawson. A relative of a very good friend of his has some personal letters sent at the time.


                      

                          Koln (Cologne) after a bombing raid by the Royal Air Force (courtesy of the Imperial War Museum)

REASON FOR LOSS:

F/O. Hugh Gavin Lydford Lawson and crew took off in Wellington R1288 at 21:15hrs from RAF Honington for an operation on Koln (Cologne) Germany. Nine aircraft from the Squadron took off that day on the same operation with F/O. Lawson taking off almost three hours after the main force from No 9 Squadron. Part of 131 aircraft sent to attach two targets in Cologne that day, with the loss of one Wellington and five Whitleys. 

A massage was received from Wellington R1288 at 00:58hrs stating that the operation had been completed, but nothing was heard from the aircraft until 01.57hrs when the aircraft asked for a homing bearing. This was sent but not acknowledge. It is presumed that due to the strong winds that evening the aircraft had been blown off course towards the mouth of the Humber. 

After circling for some time it is presumed that the aircraft ran out of fuel and crashed into the sea off Spurn Head which forms the north bank of the Humber Estuary. A search was carried out the following day by Coastal Command aircraft but with no success.

                                                  

Runnymede Memorial, Surrey

Burial details:

F/O. Hugh Gavin Lydford Lawson. Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Panel 30. Son of Gavin Lawson (died 1937) and of Evelyn Lydford Lawson (née Davis - died 1944) of Paragon, Bath. (1) Hugh Gavin Lydford Lawson was granted a short service commission as Acting Pilot Officer on the 28th November 1937 and on the 27th September 1938 he was confirmed in his appointment as a Pilot Officer. On the 27th June 1940 he was promoted to the rank of Flying Officer and had been posted to No. 9 Squadron on the 5th January 1940

Sgt. James Noel Murray. Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Panel 49. Son of James and Ethel Murray of Dunmurray, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland

Sgt. John Nevil Huddlestone. Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Panel 45. Son of Theodore George and Louie Huddlestone of Hexham, Northumberland. (2) John Nevil Huddlestone is remembered on the Hexham War Memorial

Sgt. Alfred Ernest Waters. Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Panel 54. No further information as yet

Sgt. Eric Routledge. Runnymede Memorial, Surrey. Panel 51. Son of Michael and Minnie Routledge. Husband of Evelyn Routledge of Rawmarsh, Yorkshire. (3) Eric Routledge is remembered on the Rotherham War Memorial

Sgt. Douglas Alfred Thomas Heslop. Patrington (Welwick Road) Cemetery. Grave 781. Son of William Douglas and Louisa Maud Heslop of Grangetown, Cardiff. (4) Douglas Alfred Thomas Heslop's body was washed ashore and he was buried in the local cemetery at Patrington, Yorkshire

Researched by: Kate Tame Aircrew Remembered and for all the relatives and friends of the crew. With special thanks to Commonwealth War Graves Commission, W. R. Chorley - Bomber Losses 1941, Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - Bomber Command War Diaries, Gordon Thorburn - Bombers First and Last, UK National Archives - Air 27/126, London Gazette archives, Imperial War Museum

Acknowledgements: Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives and Fred Paradie - Paradie Archive (both on this site), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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