12/13.08.1944 No. 514 Squadron Lancaster I LM180 JI-G P/O. John Lawrie
Operation: Russelsheim, Frankfurt (Flying Bomb sites)
Date: 12/13th August 1944 (Saturday/Sunday)
Unit: No. 514 Squadron
Type: Lancaster I
Code: JI-G (replacing JI-U - "The Swoose" under repairs for an earlier landing accident)
Base: RAF Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire.
Location: Bavegem near Gent, Belgium.
Pilot: Fl/Sgt (P/O) John Lawrie N/Z428001 RNZAF Age 21. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. 'Tommy' Davidson Young 1822876 RAFVR Evaded
Nav: Fl/Sgt. Denison 'Reg' Orth AUS/424209 RAAF Age 26. Evaded
Air/Bmr: Sgt. Martin John Carter 1811354 RAFVR Evaded
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Ellis George Durland 1582432 RAFVR Evaded
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Lindsay Rutland 'Sam' Burford AUS/437391 RAAF Age 19. Evaded
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt Robert 'Bob' Charles Chester-Masters AUS/434592 RAAF Age 20. Evaded
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 21:44 hrs from RAF Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire to bomb the Opel works at Russelsheim which was thought to be manufacturing the wings for the V1 flying bombs.
LM180 was carrying 1 x 4,000 lb. bomb, 6 x 150x4 incendiaries, 6 No. 14 clusters bombs. The aircraft was carrying 1,410 gallons of fuel - enough for approximately 6 hours 15 minutes flying time. The duration of this operation was approximately 4 hours 45 minutes.
The crew left to right Rear: Sgt. E. George Durland, Sgt. "Tommy" D. Young, Fl/Sgt. John Lawrie, Fl/Sgt. Denison "Reg" Orth and Sgt. Martin J. Carter. Front: Fl/Sgt. Sam Lindsay R. Burford and Fl/Sgt Robert ("Bob") Charles Chester-Master (courtesy Bob Chester-Master)
514 Squadron Lancasters over France, 1944
LM180 was attacked by a Ju88 flown by Uffz. Friedrich Grüner of 3/NJG2 over Havelange at 8,000 ft.
(1) This was the first claim of Uffz. Grüner who claimed one more before he went missing on the 31st December / 01st January 1945 during an interdiction sortie. (Information courtesy Kracker Archive on this website)
New information added regarding the claim for this aircraft by Mr. John Burford in April 2018. This has since also been verified by Dr. Theo Boiten author of the Night Fighter War Diaries.
John Lawrie was originally buried in the garden of a local shoe maker (Nestor van der Heyden) in his garden at Bavegem prior to Schoonselhof Cemetery.
It is understood that Bob Chester-Master who contacted is the only surviving member of this crew - January 2013.
Fl/Sgt (P/O.) John Lawrie. Schoonselhof Cemetery, Antwerp. Grave IV.D.15. Son of Andrew Reid Lawrie and of Annie Lawrie (nee Anderson), of Otakeho, Taranaki, New Zealand. A total of 522 flying hours logged and on his 11th operational sortie.
The war diaries of 514 Squadron. (StrikingThrough Clouds) Written by Simon Hepworth and Andrew Porelli. ISBN: 978-1495440489 546 Pages.
Formed on 1st September 1943 as part of the expansion of Bomber Command's No. 3 Group, 514 Squadron specialised in blind bombing techniques in the drawn out and bloody campaign against Nazi Germany. For the vast majority of its war, 514 Squadron was stationed at RAF Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire, operating Lancaster bombers. Aircrew members were drawn not just from Britain but also Canada, Australia and New Zealand amongst others. Over four hundred members of the squadron were to lose their lives in the two years of the squadron's existence, which saw the loss on operations of 66 aircraft, with another 14 being written off in accidents. Thrown into the Battle of Berlin in the winter of 1943/4, 514 Squadron also played a pivotal role in supporting the Allied bridgehead in Normandy after D-Day, before reverting to attacks on German infrastructure, including transport facilities and oil production plants. Drawing on the squadron's Operational Record Book, previously only available as microfiche or poor quality print, Simon Hepworth and Andrew Porrelli have produced the first comprehensive record of 514 Squadron's war.
Researched for Bob Chester-Master and dedicated to all the relatives of this crew. With additional information supplied by Bob Chester-Master, Mr. John Burford, New Zealand Herald 12 August 2004, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - "Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2", Bill Chorley - "Bomber Command Losses Vol. 5", Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - "Bomber Command War Diaries". Guy at Find a grave and the 12 o'clock high Forum.