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The Airmen's Stories - P/O D T M Lumsden

Dugald Thomas Moore Lumsden was born on 24th June 1920 and educated at Deytheur Grammar School. He entered the RAF College Cranwell in January 1939 as a Flight Cadet.

Whilst at Cranwell, he gained his life-long nickname of 'Buster', allegedly after a drill sergeant had said he marched like the American cartoon character 'Buster Brown'.

The course was shortened because of the war and, after being commissioned in December 1939, Lumsden joined the recently-reformed 236 Squadron at Martlesham Heath on 4th January 1940.



After operating with Fighter Command in July 1940, the squadron moved to St. Eval in early August and rejoined Coastal Command.

On 9th November 1940 Heinkel He111H-4 1T+FH 6951 of 1./KGr. 126 was attacked by Lumsden, flying with Sgt. CM Gibbons and Sgt. EE Miles. It jettisoned its torpedo but then crashed into the sea off Brest.

Flgr. O Skusa was killed, Fw. P Hermsen reported missing, Fw. W von Livonius and Oblt. H. Lorenz both rescued by Seenotdienst. The body of Skusa was later washed ashore in Brittany.

In July 1941 Lumsden was posted to 2 (Coastal) OTU at Catfoss, as an instructor. Whilst there he converted to Beaufighters and in late May 1942 returned to operations, joining 248 Squadron at Dyce.

On 11th July 1942 Lumsden was on a sortie from Sumburgh to discover the whereabouts of the German capital ships Scharnhorst and Tirpitz. While flying low over Ramsoyfjord they were intercepted by Me109s from nearby Orland. Their Beaufighter was brought down in the sea off the island of Hitra. Lumsden and his navigator, WO DH Goffee, were able to get out and swim to the settlement of Forsnes on the island where they later became PoWs.

The Beaufighter was claimed by Uffz. Erich Koch of 12./JG5*.

Lumsden had been injured by shrapnel and spent some months in Trondheim hospital before being transferred to Stalag Luft III, at first in the East Compound.

In the winter of 1944/5, with the Russians advancing, the camp was evacuated to another camp in NE Germany. This in turn was evacuated with the prisoners embarking on so-called 'Long March', walking through Berlin to the Elbe, where their guards surrendered to the British forces.

Lumsden remained in the RAF postwar and joined 254 Squadron in September 1945, once more flying Beaufighters.

In the winter of 1947 he was posted at short notice to RAF Negombo, Ceylon, (now Sri Lanka). Because the short notice left no time for the usual banns to be read, he had to marry by special licence. His bride was a former Section Officer WRAF, Frances Mary Edmunds. After returning from Ceylon he was posted to RAF Chivenor and went from there, in 1953, back to Cranwell as a flying instructor.

After a posting to the Air Ministry he attended RAF Manby in Lincolnshire for a conversion course onto the Canberra, he then was posted as Squadron Commander to 17 Squadron at RAF Wildenrath in Germany. The squadron flew the Canberra PR7 in the photographic reconnaissance role. After a relatively short posting to RAF Finningley in Yorkshire, as station second-in-command, he finished his RAF career as an instructor at the Staff College at RAF Bracknell.

Lumsden had two children, a daughter born in Ceylon and a son born during his posting at Cranwell as a flying instructor.

Awarded an MBE (gazetted 1st June 1953), he retired on 16th May 1964 as a Wing Commander.

Lumsden died in Chesterfield, Derbyshire on 7th November 1995.


*the Beaufighter was discovered postwar by Norwegian divers, see:


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