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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 9 Squadron Wellington I L4288 WS:A Sqn Ldr. Lennox S. Lamb

Operation: Training Exercise

Date: 30th October 1939 (Monday)

Unit No: 9 Squadron, Bomber Command

Type: Wellington I

Serial: L4288

Code: WS:A

Base: RAF Honington, Suffolk

Location: Near Sapiston Rectory in Suffolk

Pilot: Sqn Ldr. Lennox Stanley Lamb 29171 RAF Age 29. Killed

Obs: Fg Off. Peter Edward Torkington-Leech 37726 RAF Age 26. Killed

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

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

Air Gnr (Rear): 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. Sqn Ldr. Lamb was flying the leading aircraft on this training exercise. He and his crew lost their lives when his Wellington collided with Wellington I L4363 at 800ft and both aircraft crashed into marshy ground near Sapiston less than three miles from RAF Honington killing all nine crew

Sqn 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 Sqn Ldr. Lamb's section failed to return

9 Squadron Wellington I 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.

Burial details:

Sqn Ldr. Lamb and LAC. Hawkins (courtesy Aircrew Remembered) Fg Off.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)

The funeral of Sqn Ldr. Lamb, Fg Off. 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

Sqn 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.

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 Plt Off. 10th July he was promoted to Fg Off.

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. Fg Off. Lamb was promoted to Flt Lt. on 26th March 1936. In 1937 Flt 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 Flt 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 Sqn Ldr. Lamb had an audience with His Majesty King George VI.

Fg Off. 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.

On the 30th March 1936 Acting Plt Off. 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 Plt Off. on 27th January 1937. On 1st September 1937 while serving with No. 9 Squadron Plt Off. Torkington-Leech took off from RAF Scampton flying Heyford Mk III. K5190 on a night flying practice. Plt Off. 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 Fg Off. and on the 10th January 1939 was posted to 9 Squadron.

Sgt. Cyril Arthur Bryant. Billingborough (St. Andrew) Churchyard, Lincolnshire, England. Born on the 18th January 1915. Husband to Margery (née Bennett) Bryant of Bourne, Lincolnshire, England.

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

Above: Grave marker for AC1. Edward Grant (Courtesy of Ethan Siou)

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. Next of Kin details for Sgt. Bryant updated by Aircrew Remembered (Feb 2024). Thanks to Ethan Siou for the images of the grave marker for AC1. Edward Grant one of which has been added to the report (Feb 2024).

Other sources listed below:

RS 04.02.2024 - Next of Kin details for Sgt. Bryant updated

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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', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. 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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