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The Airmen's Stories - P/O B D Larbalestier


Basil Douglas Larbalestier was born in Willesden, London on 19th June 1913. His father was a watchmaker and jeweller.

After leaving school at 14 he joined ED Sassoon Banking as a messenger.

He joined 600 Squadron Auxiliary Air Force in March 1935 as an Aircrafthand. He later trained as a Wireless Operator (Air).


Above: (L to R) LAC B Hawkins, Larbalestier, Cpl. B Kidd.

(Hawkins and Kidd were killed over Holland on 10th May 1940).


Above image courtesy of 'Gentlemen in Blue' ISBN 0 85052 575 6




In August 1936 the squadron was incorporated into Fighter Command and Larbalestier remustered as an air gunner. He married Irene Rudge in 1939, they went on to have two sons, David and Brian.

Called up on 24th August 1939, he was commissioned on 31st August 1940 and flew with 600 until January 1941, when he was posted to 200 Squadron, Coastal Command at Oban.


Above: Larbalestier after commissioning.


He received a Mention in Despatches (gazetted 24th September 1941).

In April 1942 Larbalestier went to the Coastal OTU at Cranwell as an instructor. He was posted to Canada in May 1943, returned to the UK in June 1944 and joined 75 Squadron, operating Lancasters from Mepal, Cambridgeshire, still as an air gunner.

Larbalestier was released from the RAF on 2nd September 1945 as a Flight Lieutenant with the Air Efficiency Award.

After the war he returned to ED Sassoon and had a long career with them as a banker, initially in London and then Manchester. After his wife passed away in 1951 he accepted a move to the bank's operation in the Bahamas, where the banking company's founder, Sir Victor Sassoon Bt, was resident.

He remained with ED Sassoon till retirement while the bank went through changes of corporate ownership, firstly Wallace Brothers and finally Standard and Chartered.

After marrying Alice Anna Felder in 1965 they moved in 1972 to Jersey with the bank, where he had strong family connections.

Larbalestier died on 29th December 1994 aged 81.

It appears that Larbalestier was a distant relative of the world champion racing driver, Sir Lewis Hamilton, whose mother's maiden name was Larbalestier.


Above image and additional research courtesy of Brian Larbalestier.



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