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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
30.10.1939 No. 9 Squadron Wellington Mk1 L4288 WS-A Sqr/Ldr Lamb

Operation: Training Exercise

Date: 30th October 1939 (Monday)

Unit: No. 9 Squadron

Type: Wellington MkI

Serial: L4288

Code: WS-A

Base: RAF Honington, Suffolk

Location: Nr. Sapiston Rectory, Suffolk

Pilot: Sqr/Ldr. Lennox Stanley Lamb. 29171. RAF Age 29. Killed (1)

Obs: F/O. Peter Edward Torkington-Leech. 37726. RAF Age 26. Killed (2)

Air/Bmr: Sgt. Cyril Arthur Bryant. 590534. RAF Age 24. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: LAC. Stanley Hawkins. 518104. RAF Age 24. Killed

Air/Gnr: AC1. Edward Grant. 531937. RAFVR Age 23. Killed


Wellington L4288 took off from RAF Honington with two other Wellingtons from the squadron to practice defensive cross-over movements. Sqd/Ldr. Lamb was flying the leading aircraft on this training exercise. He and his crew lost their lives when his Wellington collided with Wellington (L4363) at 800ft and both aircraft crashed into marshy ground near Sapiston less than three miles from RAF Honington killing all nine crew

Sqd/Ldr. Lamb and crew had led 9 Squadron on the raid to Brunsbuttel on the 4th September 1939. He was commanding No.1 Section on this bombing raid on warships inside Brunsbuttel harbour. Two of Sqd/Ldr. Lamb's section failed to return

No. 9 Squadron Wellington L4288

Mr David Shrimpton contacted us in November 2015 and advised us that a large portion of this aircraft is on display at the great Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation Museum located in Bungay, Suffolk.

The website of the museum describes the exhibit: In 1982/3 the museum recovered considerable remains from Wellington I L4288 from marshland near the village of Sapiston, Suffolk.
The wreckage held by the museum is thought to be the largest Wellington I remains in existence. The fuselage centre section, nacelles and wing spars make this an extremely substantial wreck.
A complete Pegasus XVII radial engine and propeller were also recovered and have been stripped down and restored by museum staff. The L4288 remains now form the centrepiece of the new RAF Bomber Command display building at Flixton.

Sqr/Ldr. Lamb and LAC. Hawkins (courtesy Aircrew Remembered) F/O.Torkington-Leech (courtesy Andrew Evans/Diane Alden and Ralph McLean Director of South Africa War Graves Project) Sgt. Bryant Billingborough (St. Andrew) Churchyard (courtesy of Tony Emptage)

Newcastle-Upon-Tyne (Byker and Heaton) Cemetery (courtesy of CWGC) Honington (All Saints) Churchyard (courtesy Andrew Evans/Diane Alden and Ralph McLean Director of South Africa War Graves Project)

Burial details:

The funeral of Sqr/Ldr. Lamb, F/O. Torkington-Leech and LAC Hawkes took place at 14:30hrs on the 2nd November 1939 at Honington Church. All were buried with full RAF Honours

Sqr/Ldr. Lennox Stanley Lamb. Honington (All Saints) Churchyard, Suffolk. Row A. Grave 6. Son of William George and Anne May Lamb of Masterton, Wellington, New Zealand. Husband of Sheila Brady Lamb of Bedford.

(1) Lennox Stanley Lamb had been in the RAF since 1930 and on 10th October was at RAF Depot, Uxbridge on appointment of Short Service Commission. 25th October 1930 he was posted to No. 3 Flying Training School, Grantham. 31st December 1930 saw him at No.2 Flying Training School, Digby. On the 28th December 1931 he was confirmed in the rank of Pilot Officer. 10th July he was promoted to Flying Officer. From The Argus, Melbourne Newspaper 2nd August 1934 - "Returning from a holiday visit to New Zealand Lieut. Lennox S. Lamb is a passenger on the liner Bendigo which is expected in Port Melbourne this morning. Lt. Lamb is returning to Iraq where he is serving with the RAF" In 1935 his service was extended for a further 6 years. 10th June 1935 posted to Home Aircraft Depot, Henlow. Flying Officer Lamb was promoted to Flight Lieutenant on 26th March 1936. In 1937 Fl/Lt. Lamb was posted to RAF Station Cardington. and on the 6th November 1937 he joined No. 11 Flying Training School, Wittering. In 1938 - 23rd August - 6th November Fl/Lt. Lamb was on a Flying Instructors Course at the Central Flying School. He was then posted to No. 9 Squadron from No. 11 Training School, Shawbery to command "A" Flight on the 14th November 1938. On the 8th September 1939 Sqr/Ldr Lamb had an audience with His Majesty King George VI

F/O. Peter Edward Torkington-Leech. Honington (All Saints) Churchyard, Suffolk. Row A. Grave 7. Son of Sidney William and Anne Martha Sophia Torkington-Leech. Husband of Alice Elizabeth Torkington-Leech of Heidelberg, Transvaal, South Africa.

(2) On the 30th March 1936 Acting Pilot Officer Peter Edward Torkington-Leech was granted a Short Service Commission having gained his "wings" at No. 2 Flying Training School on 15th August 1936. He was confirmed as Pilot Officer on 27th January 1937. On 1st September 1937 while serving with No. 9 Squadron P/O. Torkington-Leech took off from RAF Scampton flying Heyford Mk III. K5190 on a night flying practice. P/O. Torkington-Leech undershot the flare path and crashed into some tall trees. He was not injured. On the 27th October 1938 he was promoted to Flying Officer and on the 10th January 1939 was posted to No. 9 Squadron.

Sgt. Cyril Arthur Bryant. Billingborough (St. Andrew) Churchyard, Lincolnshire, England. No further information as yet - are you able to assist?

LAC. Stanley Hawkins. Honington (All Saints) Churchyard, Suffolk. Row. A. Grave 5. Son of George William and Agnes Hawkins of Gateshead, Co. Durham, England.

AC1. Edward Grant. Newcastle-Upon-Tyne (Byker and Heaton) Cemetery. Sec. 23. Uncons. Grave 141. Son of James and Annie Grant of Newcastle-on-Tyne, England.

Researcher Kate Tame Aircrew Remembered, for all the relatives and friends of the crew. With special thanks to Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Martin W. Bowman - Bombs Away, Tony Emptage - Find a Grave, Volunteers Andrew Evans/Diane Alden and Ralph McLean Director of South Africa War Graves Project, Aircrew Remembered Archives, W. R. Chorley - Bomber Command Losses 1939-1940 Including Pre-war Losses July 1936 - September 1939. Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation Museum

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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, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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