Farewell to another of the Few

Another of the few remaining Battle of Britain heroes, Flt Lt Keith Lawrence, passed away just before midnight on Thursday 2 June. He was 96.

Flt Lt Lawrence was a great supporter of the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust and a regular visitor to the site at Capel-le-Ferne on Memorial Day.

Up until about four years ago he was also an active member of the Battle of Britain Fighter Association, the organisation only the Few are invited to join.

Born in Waitara, New Zealand, on 25 November, 1919, Flt Lt Lawrence joined the Civil Reserve of Pilots in February 1938 and then applied for a short service commission in the RAF, leaving for England early in 1939.

He joined No 234 Squadron on 6 November before qualifying as an Air Navigator 2nd class and rejoining his squadron at the end of June.

After a successful spell in which he shared in the destruction of a Ju88, damaged another Junkers and a Bf110, claimed a BF109 destroyed and damaged a Do17, he was posted to No 603 Squadron at Hornchurch, claiming a Bf109 destroyed and two others damaged on his first sortie.

In October 1940, Flt Lt Lawrence was posted to 421 Fight at Hawkinge, just a few miles from Capel-le-Ferne, where the Memorial now stands. After continuing to add to his tally, he was shot down by Bf109s while on a weather reconnaissance flight.

His Spitfire disintegrated, and after parachuting into the sea he used a dye sachet to highlight his position. He was picked up by a minesweeper and taken to Ramsgate with a dislocated right arm and broken right leg.

He later rejoined his Flight, now renamed as No 91 Squadron, and in January 1942 he was posted to HQ RAF Mediterranean in Malta, where he joined No 185 Squadron and continued his impressive career. He was promoted to Acting Squadron Leader in May 1942 and took command of the squadron until he returned to the UK in early August.

After a spell back in New Zealand he returned to Britain, where he ran a successful dry cleaning business. He leaves a wife, Kay, and children Tessa, Mark, Geoff, Sue and Joe.

One thought on “Farewell to another of the Few

    Flt Lt Keith Ashley Lawrence
    27 November 1940 – Spitfire P7499/LZ-M
    Possibly shot down by Oblt Gustav Sprick 8./JG26 off Deal

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