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The Airmen's Stories - F/Lt. L H Schwind


Lionel Harold Schwind was born on 15th June 1913 and brought up in the Crowborough area of East Sussex. He attended Newlands Preparatory School at Seaford.

He went to Repton School in 1927 and left in 1931 to go to Loughborough College to study engineering. Schwind served a brief apprenticeship with Frazer Nash before joining the RAF on a short service commission.





He began his initial training course on 23rd March 1936. He was posted to 11 FTS Wittering on 2nd June and after completing his training he joined 54 Squadron at Hornchurch in January 1937. In December 1937 he was posted to Iraq and joined the staff of the Aircraft Depot, Dhibban on 3rd April 1938. Whilst in Iraq Schwind served with 55 Squadron, based at Habbaniya with Vickers Vincents.

Schwind returned to the UK in early September 1938 and was involved in a motor accident on the 12th near Dumfries and was badly injured. He was posted to No. 1 RAF Depot Uxbridge on the 12th as a supernumerary, non-effective sick.

Once fully recovered he was posted on 9th January 1939 to 'E' Flight of No. 1 AACU at West Freugh, near Stranraer, flying Hawker Henleys.

He married Georgina Trueman in Edinburgh in December 1939.

On 23rd August 1940 Schwind arrived at 5 OTU Aston Down and after converting to Hurricanes joined 257 Squadron at Debden on 1st September.

He moved to 43 Squadron at Usworth on the 10th and then to 213 Squadron at Tangmere on the 20th.

He was shot down and killed in combat with enemy fighters over Gatwick on 27th September 1940. His Hurricane, N2401, crashed on to Wildernesse Golf Course, Seal, near Sevenoaks.

His story then becomes even more tragic. On the next day, the 28th, Schwind and his wife Georgina were to have a second wedding, at Crowborough, for the benefit of Schwind's widower father, who had been unable to attend the Edinburgh ceremony.

When the groom failed to appear, enquiries were made to the squadron and the news of his death the previous day was relayed to Schwind's wife and father. Georgina was pregnant and a daughter, Penelope, was born in June 1941.

Schwind was 27 years old. His funeral was held at All Saint' Church, Crowborough on 4th October 1940 with full military honours. He is buried in Crowborough Burial Ground, Sussex.










In 1980 a memorial plaque was placed at the site of his crash (below).




Above images courtesy of Les Featherstone.




Schwind's brother, RAF Sgt. Gordon Louis Schwind, was killed on 26th May 1940 aged 21.

Blenheim IV R3613 of 59 Squadron was shot down at Dussen in Holland while on a reconnaissance sortie. P/O RE Shaw and AC1 AC Brogan were also killed.

Schwind is buried in Waasten Communal Cemetery, Belgium.

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