Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

mike j dunn

Captain Walter Lawrence RFC

Recommended Posts

mike j dunn

Can any tell me anything about the career of Captain Walter Lawrence RFC. Originally from the 7th Bn Essex Regiment (TF), he gained his brevet in August 1911 (Number 113). He was kia on 2 January 1915. Walter Lawrence was probably the first Territorial to qualify as a pilot.

Many thanks,

Mike Dunn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
fetubi

Mike,

I believe Lawrence was lost in a flying accident in a Bleriot XI, whilst with 6 Squadron in France. I'm not certain of the serial but a candidate is Bleriot 1842 which left the squadron for the Air Depot on 10th Jan 1915.

He may be mentioned in the biog of Hawker.

Regards,

Trevor

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Starlight

Mike,

Just a little more for you from the records of Number 6 squadron. Captain Walter Lawrence was originally posted as a pilot to Number 6. At the outbreak of war four RFC squadrons were mobilised (2, 3, 4 and 5) and to bring the numbers up, many pilots and aircraft were 'borrowed' from Number 6 squadron. Lawrence flew out to France with Number 2 squadron on 13th August 1914. A few months later when Number 6 was almost back up to strength and was about to be mobilised, Lawrence rejoined the squadron, returning to England so that he could flew out to France with the other 11 pilots. The 12 aircraft made the short flight from Farnborough to Dover on 6th October 1914. The next day only eight aircraft were fit to fly from Dover to Bruges - Lawrence in his Henri Farman No: 680 and two other pilots flew out the next day on the 8th October with the last one two days later.

In those early days of the war, prior to the formation of Wings (and the splitting of squadrons into Corps and Army Wings), the role of Number 6 was mostly stragetical reconnaisance. Captain Lawrence became a valued flight commander at Number 6 (though I can find no details of any of his missions). He was mentioned in despatches also but I can't find the details at the moment.

On the day of his death (at the age of 22) he was apparently testing the engine of his Bleriot, having taken off from the squadron's aerodrome at Bailleul, before crashing. His death was the first loss of a pilot at Number 6 squadron.

Regards

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Starlight

Mike,

Lawrence also gets a mention in the following Gazettes:

Gazette Issue 28926 published on the 6 October 1914. Page 14 of 94

The undermentioned Flying Officers are advanced to Flight Commanders, and to be temporary Captains:

Dated 7th August, 1914. Lieutenant Walter Lawrence, 7th Battalion, The Essex Regiment.

Gazette Issue 29030 published on the 5 January 1915. Page 8 of 100

The Essex Regiment, Lieutenant (temporary Captain in Army) Walter Lawrence (Flight Commander, Royal Flying Corps, Military Wing), from 7th (Territorial Force) Battalion, to be Lieutenant, and to be seconded. Dated 1st October, 1914.

Regards

Steve

PS I had a quick look at French's Despatches but could not find the page where Lawrence gets an official 'mention'.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
fetubi

Mike,

I find the attached extract about what are the exact circumstances of Walter Lawrence's death quite touching. I found this in a little book entitled Royal Flying Corps Casualties and Honours During the War 1914-1917, compiled by Capt GL Campbell:

post-20883-1224621455.jpg

As you read this you can just about see these actual events unfolding - literally in the very ealiest days of air warfare a young chap trying to understand and push the boundaries of what could be done. He was, in effect, pioneering dive-bombing. He had the right idea - just the wrong aircraft. By 1918 this method of diving from a great height down onto difficult targets and then zooming to get away was a staple for Camel fighters, for example if they were attacking AA batteries - it's described in various memoirs. He was a brave chap. He knew these ideas had to be tested and he gave it a go. Rest in peace Walter Lawrence.

Hope this helps.

Trevor

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mike j dunn

Very many thanks everybody for the detailed and informative information about Walter Lawrence. It is indeed quite fascinating.

Acting on information received, I found a further reference to him in the London gazette for 3 November 1914 (page 8880). Lt W Lawrence is listed as one or the recipients of the Croix de Chevalier of the French Legion of Honour for gallantry during operations in the period 21 - 30 AUgust 1914. I presume that this will have been whilst serving with 2 Squadron.

I must try and find their war diary next time I am in Kew,

With best regards,

Mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jocktamson
Can any tell me anything about the career of Captain Walter Lawrence RFC. Originally from the 7th Bn Essex Regiment (TF), he gained his brevet in August 1911 (Number 113). He was kia on 2 January 1915. Walter Lawrence was probably the first Territorial to qualify as a pilot.

Many thanks,

Mike Dunn

Is this you're chap??

walter2.jpg

walter1.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MattyBoy

Hi,

According to 'The Aeroplane' magazine dated 06th Jan. 1915, Lawrence was born Count Lawrence (Lorenzo) Walter Falcioni, being an Italian by birth, the son of an Italian father and an English mother.

Understandable why he has black hair and brown eyes - if you look into the history of Italy circa 800 AD....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
per ardua per mare per terram
Lt W Lawrence is listed as one or the recipients of the Croix de Chevalier of the French Legion of Honour for gallantry during operations in the period 21 - 30 AUgust 1914. I presume that this will have been whilst serving with 2 Squadron.

It was also before the introduction of the Military Cross.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
per ardua per mare per terram

Some files at Kew that may be of interest:

AIR 1/687/21/20/2 History of 2 Squadron, R.A.F. 1911-1933

AIR 1/763/204/4/184 Move of 2 Squadron from Montrose to Netheravon. 1914 Apr. - 1915 June

AIR 1/765/204/4/232 Divisional training in Ireland by Flight of 2 Squadron. 1914 Apr. - Oct.

AIR 1/772/204/4/323 Miscellaneous correspondence: 2 Squadron R.F.C. 1913 Apr.

AIR 1/779/204/4/463 Names of 2 Squadron on Army manoeuvres. 1912

? maybe AIR 1/779/204/4/464 Application of 2 officers, 2 Squadron, to fly private aircraft. 1913 Nov.

AIR 1/784/204/4/539 Scottish Command Army manoeuvres, 2 Squadron. 1913 July

AIR 1/802/204/4/1105 Flying by 2 Squadron on visit of His Majesty to Aldershot. 1913 May

AIR 1/687/21/20/6 History of 6 Squadron, R.A.F. 1914-1935

AIR 1/774/204/4/357 Move of 6 Squadron R.F.C. to France. 1914 Sept. - Oct.

AIR 1/778/204/4/457 Reconnaissance reports: 6 Squadron. 1914 Oct.

AIR 1/827/204/5/155 Move of 6 Squadron to Netheravon. 1914 Sept.

AIR 1/2412/303/6 Personal records: officers of 6 Squadron. 1914-1934

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mike j dunn

Very many thanks for the new information about Lawrence. His Italian ancestry helps explain why I have struggled to find him in Ancestry.co.uk.

That long list of 2 Squadron files looks interesting and will be very helpful. I will definitely dig them out when I go to Kew in a few weeks time. Thanks,

With best regards,

Mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
artoflosing

I realise this thread is long-dead, but just in case anyone is still around who is interested in Walter Lawrence, he was my great-uncle. His Italian father was my great-grandfather. I have a bit of info about his background, though not much to add to the amazing wealth of info on this thread! I have put what I know on my family tree on Ancestry.co.uk and if you message me saying you saw this I will give you access. If anyone is interested in chatting further about him, you can drop me a line on Gmail.com. My username is mldaniellem. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
hallaiged
Posted (edited)

Thank you all so much for the all information on Walter Lawrence.

I have been researching Great War servicemen with connections to Great Yarmouth and Gorleston-on-Sea.

 

There is a photograph and a small bio in a special Great War edition of the local Great Yarmouth Mercury, printed in November 2014.

http://www.roll-of-honour.org.uk/My-Home-Town/Norfolk/Great_Yarmouth/WWI/html/Yarmouth-Mercury-On-Active-Service.pdf

I found it here:-

https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/263879-norfolk-interest/

There are also hard copies in the reference section of the local library, who are always very helpful.

 

I am interested in his connection to Great Yarmouth or Gorleston-on-Sea.

Regards to all.

Thanks again.

 

Edited by hallaiged
Privacy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
artoflosing

Hi Hallaiged,

 

Many thanks for this. I hadn't actually seen that photograph before so it's lovely to have another image/PDF to add to the small collection. 

 

I don't really know why he is listed as being 'from' Great Yarmouth/surrounding area. He has also been claimed as an Angus hero by local papers there. As far as I can tell, that claim was based on a brief posting to that part of the world. So maybe there was a base in East Anglia where he spent some time. There is a genuine family connection to the area around Hastings, and to London, according to my limited information.

 

My gmail address is based on the username mldaniellem, by the way, not artoflosing.

 

Kind regards,

 

Danielle

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
hallaiged

Hi Danielle,

 

Thank you for your reply and family information.

Glad the photograph is of interest.

 

I suspect your instincts are spot on.

There was an RFC base at South Denes airfield from April 1913 to  November 1920.

In 1914 there were only 7 completed aerodromes in the country!

http://www.heritage.norfolk.gov.uk/record-details?TNF405-Military-Airfields-in-Norfolk-(Article)

http://www.heritage.norfolk.gov.uk/record-details?MNF13631-World-War-One-Aeroplane-and-Seaplane-Station-South-Denes-Great-Yarmouth.

http://www.abct.org.uk/airfields/airfield-finder/great-yarmouth-i-south-denes-yarmouth/

http://greatyarmouthhistory.info/ww1/royalflyingcorps.php

 

He could have been at the base at some time,

and it would not be a great surprise if he had not made some local friends?

Surely, if he is in the local press, it is highly likely.

 

There could be other reasons as well.

The family could have visited Yarmouth or had friends there?

It was then and still is now, very popular with people from London and Essex..

I have just found a serviceman, who had no apparent connections to the area,

until I found the new address to send his effects to was an address in Gorleston,

where his mother had retired to.

 

Hope this is of interest,

All the very best,

Steve

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
voltaire60

Somewhat intrigued by his background-  7th Essex is local to me-it covered Walthamstow and northern Hackney for recruiting. yet I have never come across him. 7th Essex only had 2 officers with war experience when formed up in the Autumn of 1914- and one of those was a Quatermaster who killed himself)- Surprised he was allowed to go off to RFC.

     Do you know anything of his connections to this  part of London??

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...