Exceptional – Redux

Something I wrote in 2012.

***

This is not only about an exceptional night intruder pilot.

It’s about paying homage to all those related to him.

Alec Lawson or Alastair Lawson was just like Eugene Gagnon.

An unknown Mosquito pilot.

Very little information about him on the Internet.  

Alec Lawson: Never took a parachute and always sat on a seat cushion made from the folded engine covers. 

For now that is…

With his nephew Al, who has just shared his uncle’s logbook, we will reach out for people who are related to Alastair Lawson just like Hector Goldie seen on this picture with Alec Lawson.

Courtesy Peter Smith

There are more info about 605 Squadron though… 

Ian sent these after I contacted him.

Courtesy Ian Piper

Courtesy Ian Piper

F/Lt. A. C. Lawson. D.F.C.

‘Alec’ joined the R.A.F., on the 14th August 1939 under the Short Service Commission scheme. In April 1943 he joined 605 Squadron as a Flight Lieutenant and with ‘B’ Flight operated a couple of times at night. Then he was posted to 23 Squadron in June ’43. 23 at this time were intruding from Malta and between June ’43 and Feb ’44, Alec successfully completed 35 sorties with them. He shot down three Huns and became a Flight Commander before returning te England. He was awarded the D.F.C., for this tour of Ops but unfortunately had to relinquish his acting rank of Squadron Leader on return. For the next few months he instrueted at an O.T.U., where he taught future Mosquito pilots all he knew about handling this aircraft (and he knew plenty) and in Nov.’44 he rejoined 605 at Hartford Bridge when they were in the throes of changing over to 2 Group’s night interdiction role. Between that date and the end of the war, he successfully completed a further 30 sorties and was with the Squadron at their disbandment, having acted as Deputy Flight Commander (‘B’ Flight) during this period.

What about Ian Piper…

He wrote a book about 605 Squadron.

Alec Lawson or Alastair Lawson – Redux

This is a comment I had received on this blog in 2011.

Hi,
my Uncle Alastair Lawson was a pilot with 23 Squadron in Malta (OC B Flight). He had a Kiwi Navigator F/O Roberston who is still alive AFIK and living in Auckland. Unfortunately my uncle’s eyesight has gone so I cannot show him the photos.

Do you have any other photos of 23 Squadron personnel?

Regards

Al Bowie

Sydney Australia

I have been writing this blog  since 2010 with Peter Smith’s help whose father was Tommy Smith. I had known more and more about 23 Squadron in 2011 but not enough to help this reader.

Information about Alec Lawson were very scarce on the Internet except here on this Webpage.

Johnny Burton: Went to Test Pilots’ School and also to APS at Leconfield.

Chris Capper: Went to Test Pilots’ School and eventually joined de Havilland – I believe he took over John Derry’s work after the crash.

‘Rox’ Roxberry: My pilot for the second two years on the Squadron. Also went to Leconfield and Farnborough and spent a year with the Yanks at Edwards base.

Les de Garis: Also went to Leconfield and each time the weather was unfit for flying we all heard Les’s lecture ‘T.S.C.S. x SIN Angle Off’ again – and again – and again.

Sax Saxby: One of the best pilots on the Squadron, but unfortunately in those days inhibited by the PII ranking.

Monty Mountford: Overcame the PII syndrome and became a Groupie or something. ‘

Chips’ Hunter: Excellent swimmer and diver. A bit hair-raising to fly with – later killed in an air crash.

Iain Dick: Good footballer.

Alec Lawson: Never took a parachute and always sat on a seat cushion made from the folded engine covers.

Dave Spencer: We did OTUs on Canada and England together and he was my pilot for three years until grounded with high tone deafness. Like Jimmy Gill he joined the Equipment Branch.

‘Ferdie’ Fortune: Hit Rox’s tailplane during formation. We then discovered he was half blind in one eye.

Archer: Alec Lawson fell out with him one night in the Mess and chased him back to his room (the last block on the left when looking with your back to the Mess at Gutersloh). Archer hid round the corner in his room and locked the door. When Alec couldn’t get in, he fetched his 12 bore and blasted a hole in the door. Luckily Archer was out of the way, but his raincoat was hanging on the door!

‘Willie’ Williams: Spent all his time reading Bradshaw and could tell you the time of almost every train in the UK and all the connections.

Jock Marshall: Received his Croix de Guerre and legion of Honour through the normal post. We celebrated on the beach at Sylt with crates of Guiness left in the edge of the sea to cool.

Jackie Butt.

Doc’ Orrell.

‘Bunny’ Warren.

Not much of a lead… 

But Peter Smith had this picture in his manuscript he sent me about Hector Goldie, Vicki’s father-in-law.

 

The Baron and Alec Lawson, also with 23 Squadron (via Norman Conquer)

Normand Conquer had it in his collection. The Baron was on this picture taken beside someone whose name was Alec Lawson. Alec was Alastair Lawson, Al’s uncle.

Al Bowie has been reading my blog ever since and he wrote a few comments. This morning Al wrote me a personal message about his uncle.

 

 

Post no. 126

This is post no. 126.

If you are interested in 23 Squadron a little known Mosquito Squadron in the RAF during World War II, then you should read this blog from the start.

Never_Say_Die

One post a day will take you more than four months. Of course you don’t have to read everything.

But then you will miss a lot of great stories…

Paul Beaudet and George Stewart 1

Just use the search engine and type in a name of someone you know who could have been related to that squadron. That how people find about their relatives.

Diane Carlucci was the first one to do so.

Paul Beaudet DFC

Paul Beaudet

 

Members of the Gosling family also found it.

23 Squadron end of the war 3

Robert Harris is one of the latest to have done so. His father was Eugène Gagnon’s navigator.

No. 23 Squadron Aircrew 1945 R. Harris

R. C. Harris

He can now share with all of us what stories his father told him about 23 Squadron.

I don’t have any relatives related to 23 Squadron. In fact I never knew that squadron existed in the first place.

I owe it all to this man. He wanted me to help him find more about his hero when he was young.

Marcel Bergeron at the crash scene

Marcel Bergeron

Marcel Bergeron, who is now 85 years old, is seen here in front of Eugène Gagnon’s Republic Seabee.

Eugène died on October 21, 1947. Very little was known about Eugène during WWII. So I started looking in 2010 and wrote about it here on this blog.

Everything is on this blog! 

numérisation0011

But this blog is not just only about Eugène Gagnon a little know French-Canadian Mosquito pilot, it’s about all those whose relatives are sharing what they know about 23 Squadron and thus will keep this squadron operational forever.

photo 23 Squadron Crest

Pilot Officer Robertson

On April 26, 1943, Alec joins 605 Squadron. 

He is checked out on an Oxford by Squadron Leader Stubbs on April 26, and he then soloed on the 29th.

Airspeed Oxford

On May 3, 1943Alec flies a Miles Magister and Pilot Officer Robertson is a passenger in the front seat.

Miles Magister

On May 7, Flight Lieutenant Green introduces him to the Mosquito, a Mk III.

The Mark III was a dual control variant without armament. The prototype was a converted NF Mk II which flew on 30 January 1942 and first deliveries were to the Mosquito Training Unit in September 1942. The T Mk III remained in service until 1955. 

Click on the image for the source

On May 11, 1943, Alec flies a Mosquito with P/O Robertson as the passenger. Pilot Officer Robertson would become his navigator and will become part of a team just like George Stewart and Paul Beaudet were. 

Hey… We’re a team…!

Exceptional

This is not only about an exceptional night intruder pilot.

It’s about paying homage to all those related to him.

Alec Lawson or Alastair Lawson was just like Eugene Gagnon.

An unknown Mosquito pilot.

Very little information about him on the Internet.  

Alec Lawson: Never took a parachute and always sat on a seat cushion made from the folded engine covers. 

For now that is…

With his nephew Al, who has just shared his uncle’s logbook, we will reach out for people who are related to Alastair Lawson just like Hector Goldie seen on this picture with Alec Lawson.

Courtesy Peter Smith

There are more info about 605 Squadron though… 

Ian sent these after I contacted him.

Courtesy Ian Piper

Courtesy Ian Piper

F/Lt. A. C. Lawson. D.F.C.

‘Alec’ joined the R.A.F., on the 14th August 1939 under the Short Service Commission scheme. In April 1943 he joined 605 Squadron as a Flight Lieutenant and with ‘B’ Flight operated a couple of times at night. Then he was posted to 23 Squadron in June ’43. 23 at this time were intruding from Malta and between June ’43 and Feb ’44, Alec successfully completed 35 sorties with them. He shot down three Huns and became a Flight Commander before returning te England. He was awarded the D.F.C., for this tour of Ops but unfortunately had to relinquish his acting rank of Squadron Leader on return. For the next few months he instrueted at an O.T.U., where he taught future Mosquito pilots all he knew about handling this aircraft (and he knew plenty) and in Nov.’44 he rejoined 605 at Hartford Bridge when they were in the throes of changing over to 2 Group’s night interdiction role. Between that date and the end of the war, he successfully completed a further 30 sorties and was with the Squadron at their disbandment, having acted as Deputy Flight Commander (‘B’ Flight) during this period.

What about Ian Piper…

He wrote a book about 605 Squadron.

Logbook Cover

This is my 100th post on this blog about 23 Squadron. It all started in April 2010 when I wanted to pay homage to this pilot.

Eugene Gagnon’s logbook was put in the garbage by his sister after  Eugene died in 1947. His war medals including a DFC were also “disposed” of…

This is not Flight Lieutenant Eugene Gagnon’s logbook.

Courtesy Al Bowie

Eugene Gagnon was buried with full military honours in 1947, then the people of Bromptonville slowly forgot all about him.

Except two people.

Eugene Gagnon’s nephew who had many pictures and shared them with me… like this one of his uncle taken in 1941 when he was learning to fly.

Courtesy Jacques Gagnon

And Marcel Bergeron, a 84 year-old man, who wanted to keep Eugene’s memory alive.

Marcel Bergeron contacted me back in 2010 and he wanted my help to learn more about Eugene’s war years.

Courtesy Marcel Bergeron

This is Marcel Bergeron who was 20 at the time at the scene of the plane crash.

Eugene Gagnon died on October 21, 1947 when a Sherbrooke Airways Republic Seabee he was flying lost power over Windsor Mills in Quebec.

Marcel took these pictures of the crash scene and the funeral, and he had a few newpaper clippings paying homage to the pilot.

Now Eugene Gagnon is not an unknown pilot anymore. We know he flew 33 night missions over Europe as a night intruder Mosquito pilot.

Since 2010, Flight Lieutenant Eugene Gagnon has been on a ongoing mission to reunite 23 Squadron airmen and ground crew.

Courtesy W.C. Phil Russell via Tom Cushing via Peter Smith

 

Assessment…

This is what Allan M. Murphy wrote about Alastair Lawson when he was with 23 Squadron.

You can read it on this page sent to me by Alastair Lawson’s nephew Al.

 

Coming from Sticky Murphy, that says a lot about Alastair Lawson.

More to come because Al sent all the pages related to 23 Squadron.

Alec Lawson or Alastair Lawson

I had received a comment on this blog in 2011.

Hi,
my Uncle Alastair Lawson was a pilot with 23 Sqn in Malta (OC B Flight). He had a Kiwi Navigator F/O Roberston who is still alive AFIK and living in Auckland. Unfortunately my uncle’s eyesight has gone so I cannot show him the photos.

Do you have any other photos of 23 Sqn personnel?

Regards

Al Bowie

Sydney Australia

I have been writing this blog  since 2010 with Peter Smith’s help, and I knew more and more about 23 Squadron but not enough to help this reader.

Information about Alec Lawson is very scarce on the Internet except here on this Webpage.

Johnny Burton: Went to Test Pilots’ School and also to APS at Leconfield. Chris Capper: Went to Test Pilots’ School and eventually joined de Havilland – I believe he took over John Derry’s work after the crash. ‘Rox’ Roxberry: My pilot for the second two years on the Squadron. Also went to Leconfield and Farnborough and spent a year with the Yanks at Edwards base. Les de Garis: Also went to Leconfield and each time the weather was unfit for flying we all heard Les’s lecture ‘T.S.C.S. x SIN Angle Off’ again – and again – and again. Sax Saxby: One of the best pilots on the Squadron, but unfortunately in those days inhibited by the PII ranking. Monty Mountford: Overcame the PII syndrome and became a Groupie or something. ‘Chips’ Hunter: Excellent swimmer and diver. A bit hair-raising to fly with – later killed in an air crash. Iain Dick: Good footballer. Alec Lawson: Never took a parachute and always sat on a seat cushion made from the folded engine covers. Dave Spencer: We did OTUs on Canada and England together and he was my pilot for three years until grounded with high tone deafness. Like Jimmy Gill he joined the Equipment Branch. ‘Ferdie’ Fortune: Hit Rox’s tailplane during formation. We then discovered he was half blind in one eye. ? Archer: Alec Lawson fell out with him one night in the Mess and chased him back to his room (the last block on the left when looking with your back to the Mess at Gutersloh). Archer hid round the corner in his room and locked the door. When Alec couldn’t get in, he fetched his 12 bore and blasted a hole in the door. Luckily Archer was out of the way, but his raincoat was hanging on the door! ‘Willie’ Williams: Spent all his time reading Bradshaw and could tell you the time of almost every train in the UK and all the connections. Jock Marshall: Received his Croix de Guerre and legion of Honour through the normal post. We celebrated on the beach at Sylt with crates of Guiness left in the edge of the sea to cool. Jackie Butt. ‘Doc’ Orrell. ‘Bunny’ Warren.

Not much of a lead… 

But last week Peter Smith had this picture with his manuscript that he sent me about Hector Goldie, Vicki’s father-in-law.

Normand Conquer had it in his collection.

The Baron and Alec Lawson, also with 23 Squadron (via Norman Conquer)

The Baron had his picture taken beside someone whose name was Alec Lawson.

Could that Alec be Alastair Lawson, Al’s uncle?

The Baron and Alec probably knew each other of course since both flew in Malta together.

I hope Al Bowie is still reading my blog and sees what Peter and I have been up to since 2010 by clicking here.

To be on the safe side I wrote him an e-mail…

I wonder where that picture was taken because this Mosquito has the Polish Air Force logo painted on its  nose and this is surely not taken in Malta by the way they are dressed up and the radar nose of the Mosquito.

So many questions that Al probably has some of the answers in his uncle logbook.

Note:

By the time I wrote this post, Al contacted me. Alec is Alastair on the picture and Al has his logbooks and he is willing to share some of it.

Alastair Lawson was with 605 Squadron after his posting with 23 Squadron. So this picture must have been taken at the 605’s airbase.