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The Airmen's Stories - F/Lt. A J A Laing


Alexander James Alan Laing was born on 18th May 1913 at Glendyne, Crawford, Lanarkshire. He was known as “Alan” to family and friends in civilian life. He became “Scottie” in the RAF.

Laing attended George Heriots School in Edinburgh before going on to Edinburgh University. He joined the RAF on a short service commission and began his training on 24th May 1937 at No. 1 E&RFTS Hatfield.

Laing went to No. 1 RAF Depot Uxbridge for a short induction course on 8th August and then moved on to 10 FTS Ternhill on the 21st. With the course completed, Laing was posted to 5 Armament Training Camp at Penrhos on 14th February 1938, after which he joined the staff of the School of Naval Co-operation at Ford on 26th March.



Laing joined 64 Squadron at Church Fenton on 20th February 1939. Its Blenheims started to be replaced by Spitfires in April 1940. He damaged a Me109 on 15th August and probably destroyed a Me109 and damaged two He111s on the 16th. He was appointed ‘B’ Flight Commander on 9th September 1940 as an Acting Flight Lieutenant.

Laing was posted away to 2 CFS Cranwell on 12th December 1940 for an instructors course and from mid-January 1941 until May 1943 Laing instructed at 12 EFTS Prestwick, 19 EFTS Sealand and 15 EFTS Carlisle.



On 25th June 1943 Laing was in Canada, beginning a short course at 3 FIS Arnprior. He then instructed at 35 EFTS Neepawa and 31 EFTS De Winton. On 26th August 1944 he went to No. 1 CFS Trenton, Ontario for a course, moved to 2 FIS Pearce on 1st October as CFI and finally to 17 SFTS Souris on 5th January 1945.

Laing returned to the UK in early May 1945 and was released from the RAF in November. He rejoined in June 1946 and was posted to HQ Scottish Command at Turnhouse as Air Staff Officer i/c Auxiliary and University Air Squadrons for Scotland.

He transferred to the RCAF Reserve and emigrated to Canada in 1947.

In 1987 Laing retired after fifty years in aviation. He died on 4th April 2000 in White Rock, BC, Canada.

A memorial plaque to him was unveiled at George Heriots School on 11th November 2005.

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