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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. D N Lawford


Derek Napier Lawford was born on 24th July 1914 in Finchley, London and joined the RAFVR in July 1939 as an Airman u/t Pilot and began elementary flying training at No. 1 E&RFTS Hatfield. Called up at the outbreak of war, he was posted to 3 ITW Hastings, moved to 6 EFTS Sywell on 27th November to complete his initial training and went to 8 FTS Montrose on 10th April 1940.

With training completed, Lawford went to 5 OTU Aston Down on 3rd August and crashed in Spitfire N3270 on the 7th, unhurt.




He served very briefly with 609 Squadron at Middle Wallop, then went to 7 OTU Hawarden and was posted to 247 Squadron at Roborough on 6th September, flying Gladiators in defence of Plymouth.

Commissioned in October 1941, Lawford embarked on HMS Prince of Wales on 24th October and landed at Freetown, then went by troopship to Takoradi.

He went up to the Middle East and spent brief periods with 250 Squadron at Port Said and 73 Squadron in the Western Desert before joining the ADU at Cairo on 14th May 1942.

Lawford returned to the UK in June 1944, did a course at 3(P)AFU at South Cerney and then joined Transport Command. He served with 511, 233 and 575 Squadrons prior to his release from the RAF on 4th October 1945 as a Flight Lieutenant.

He later went to live in the USA, where he worked in the real estate business. Lawford moved to Canada in 1985.

He died on 30th June 1995 in Monterey, California.


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