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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. A J Lauder


Arnold John Lauder was born on 26th September 1915 in Portsmouth and educated at Portsmouth Junior Technical School. He joined the RAF in September 1931 as an Aircraft Apprentice at Halton. He did a three year course and passed out as an LAC Fitter, Aero Engines in September 1934. He was posted to RAF Gosport, maintaining aircraft used for training pilots for aircraft carriers.

At the time of the Abyssinia scare in 1936, Lauder was posted to the Middle East, to the MU at Aboukir but returned to the UK in 1937 and went back to Gosport. He was later posted to RAF Henlow for a Fitter 1 Course and, on passing out, he was promoted to Corporal and posted to 87 Squadron.

Lauder was in 'A' Flight and on 1st June 1938 the flight was re-numbered as 85 Squadron.

Lauder applied for pilot training and late in 1938 he was posted to 4 E&RFTS Brough to begin his initial training. He moved on to 3 FTS Grantham, completed the course in late August 1939 and was promoted to Sergeant-Pilot.


Above: 264 Squadron airmen photographed in May 1940.

L to R (standing): P/O Hickman, F/Lt. Cooke, S/Ldr. PA Hunter, P/O MH Young, P/O GH Hackwood, P/O EG Barwell, P/O SR Thomas, P/O D Whitley.

(Seated): F/Sgt. ER Thorn, P/O DHS Kay, Sgt. AJ Lauder, P/O RW Stokes)



Lauder joined 264 Squadron, operating Defiants, on 30th October. Over Dunkirk on 29th May 1940 he destroyed a Ju87 and probably a second. Lauder also took part in 264's final bout of day-fighting in August. On the 28th he had his petrol tank holed by return fire during an attack on a He111 over Folkestone. He and his gunner were unhurt.

Commissioned in May 1942, Lauder was posted to 54 OTU Charter Hall on 14th April 1943 as an instructor. He returned to 264 Squadron on 12th November 1943 and stayed with it until the end of the war.

Lauder later went as supernumerary Engineering Officer with a Spitfire squadron. He was released from the RAF in 1947 as a Flight Lieutenant. He became a partner in a motor engineering firm in Surrey.

Lauder died in March 1999 in Buckinghamshire.


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