31.08.1943 488 Squadron Mosquito NF.XII HK182 Plt.Off. Rawlings
Operation: Air firing practice
Date: 31st August 1943 (Tuesday)
Unit: 488 Squadron (13 Group)
Type: Mosquito NF.XII
Base: RAF Drem, East Lothian, Scotland
Location: Concleton Farm, Near Kingston
Pilot: Plt.Off. Leslie McDonald Rawlings 413474 RNZAF Age 20. Killed
Nav: Plt.Off. Samuel John Gordon 155089 RAFVR Age 25. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 15:16 hrs to take part in an air firing practice when, just 6 minutes later the aircraft stalled during a steep turn to port and crashed in the grounds of Concleton Farm, near Kingston. Both crew members were killed.
It is thought possible that they had entered the slipstream of a Beaufighter and the pilot possibly lost control during the turn.
The family of Plt.Off. Rawlings were to lose another son:
27 year old, Flt.Lt. Raymond Charles Rawlings DFC. 416164 RNZAF was killed on the 9th October 1943 during a cross country exercise with 20 OTU, Wellington X HE283 flown by 30 year old, Plt.Off. Raymond Albert Lewis Young 142551 RAFVR from Harrow - killed with 3 other crew, 1 other survived with serious burns. (Flt.Lt. Rawlings' DFC was awarded whilst with 158 Sqn) Both boys were cremated and buried side by side at Cambridge City Cemetery.
Plt.Off. Leslie McDonald Rawlings. Cambridge City Cemetery. Grave 15969. Son of Alfred William and Flora McDonald Rawlings, of Ravensbourne, Otago, New Zealand. A total of 579 flying hours logged and had completed some 5 solo flights on the Mosquito.
Plt.Off. Samuel John Gordon. Armagh Church of Ireland Churchyard (St. Mark). No. 5 Hollow. Grave 10. Son of William Freckleton Gordon and Sarah Jane Gordon and husband of Mary Mildred Esther Gordon, and father to 7 month old Shelagh of Finaghy, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Grave inscription reads: "His Was The Path Of Duty That Leads To Glory".
1393021 Flt.Sgt. Gordon was commissioned on the 9th July 1943, gazetted on the 21st September 1943. The Royal Air Force Association very kindly paid extra fees for Shelagh's education up until the age of 18. Shelagh McCauley grew up in northern Ireland but now lives in the United States.
Flt.Lt. Raymond Charles Rawlings DFC, Cambridge City Cemetery. Grave 15969. Next of kin details as shown for his brother. A total of 606 flying hours logged and had completed 31 operational sorties.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Weekly News of New Zealand, other sources as quoted below: