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6 September 2018
Pilot Lyle Anzac Lawson and Crew – 462 Squadron RAAF Middle East

 

The Lawson Crew were all Sergeants or Flight Sergeants as listed for their Ops in the 462 Squadron Operational Record Book. Only Officers were named in Postings TO or FROM the squadron, so their arrival was not recorded. However their first Op was on 14 November 1943, flying from Terria, and they carried out a further 5 Ops from Terria in December 1943. The crew relocated with 462 Squadron to El Adem by 01 January 1944, and they carried out 3 Ops in January, and 2 in February 1944 (see Ops listings in later section).
This crew also relocated with 462 Squadron to Italy on 01 March 1944, where the squadron was renamed 614 Squadron.
This crew was Killed on Operations on the night of 15/16 March 1944.

Information was sourced from the 462 Squadron Operational Record Book (ORB) for 1943 and 1944 from the National Archives of Australia; Commonwealth War Graves Commission; and from the Frederick Henry Worthington Archives (with thanks to his son Terry Worthington). Thanks also go to the family of F/Eng David John (Jack) Lewis (his son DJ, and DJ's sister C. Squibb) who have identified Jack and other crew members from their same set of photos.

If anyone can assist with identification of crew members in the photos shown below, or can provide photos or information about members of this crew – please make contact.

 

 

Members of the Lawson crew were ......

Pilot Lyle Anzac LAWSON (11 Ops at 462 Squadron)
Navigator/Observer James Martin WITHERS (11 Ops with Lawson, plus 1 with Pilot McLean, and 1 with Pilot Tattersall, Total 13 Ops)
Bomb Aimer Vivian DICKSON (11 Ops with Lawson, plus 1 with Pilot Dalton, 2 with Pilot St. Pierre, 1 with Pilot Tattersall, Total 15 Ops)
Wireless Operator Frederick Henry WORTHINGTON (10 Ops with Lawson, 1 with Pilot Dalton, Total 11 Ops)
Wireless Operator Substitute Sgt Phillips of 178 Squadron (1 Op)
Rear Gunner 1. J H BEVAN (3 Ops with Lawson);
Rear Gunner 2. L RACKHAM (2 Ops with Lawson);
Rear Gunner 3. David Roland WILLIAMS (4 Ops with Lawson);
Rear Gunner 4. Fl Lt Leonard Charles DOAK 408568 RAAF (2 Ops with Lawson).
Flight Engineer David John LEWIS (11 Ops with Lawson, plus 1 with Pilot McLean, and 1 with Pilot Tattersall, Total 13 Ops)

Links to additional crew information;
Lawson Crew Ops at 462 Squadron;
Halifax BB446 Ops at 462 Squadron;
Loss of this crew and Halifax BB446 at 614 Squadron (all KIA).

 

 

Five members of the Lawson Crew of 462 Squadron (RAAF), beside the rear gun turret, including Larry, Frederick Henry Worthington, Vivian Dickson, David John Lewis, and Lyle Anzac Lawson.
Photo from the Frederick Henry Worthington Archives

Above: Five members of the Lawson Crew of 462 Squadron (RAAF), in flying gear, beside the rear gun turret of their aircraft, not dated, but appears to have been taken on the same day & time as the adjacent photo), left to right:

1. Rear Gunner with flying boots (one of four R/AGs who flew with this crew, recorded as "Larry" in the DJ Lewis family photos)
2. Wireless Operator Frederick Henry Worthington
3. Bomb Aimer Vivian Dickson (Dicky) Aussie in darker uniform

4. F/Eng David John Lewis (Jack, identified by his family)
5. Pilot Lyle Anzac Lawson, tall Aussie in darker RAAF uniform, (identification confirmed by his grand-daughter Sandra).

On 05 Jan 1944 the members of the Lawson crew were ...
Pilot Lawson; Nav Withers; Bomb Aimer Dickson; F/Eng Lewis; R/AG DR Williams; W/OP Worthington.

On 15 Jan and 9 Feb the Rear Gunner was also D R Williams
On 9 Jan and 4 Feb the Rear Gunner was F/Lt Leonard Charles Doak

Rear Gunner on 11 and 12 December 1943 was F/Sgt L Rackham, no other details recorded, but sometimes recorded as RCAF.

 

 

Five members of the Lawson Crew of 462 Squadron (RAAF), including Larry, Lyle Anzac Lawson, David John Lewis, Frederick Henry Worthington, and Vivian Dickson.
Photo from the Frederick Henry Worthington Archives

Above: Five members of the Lawson Crew of 462 Squadron (RAAF), some of their flying gear removed, beneath the nose of their aircraft, not dated, left to right:

1. Rear Gunner with flying boots ("Larry", same as 1 in turret photo)
2. Pilot Lyle Lawson (same as 5 in turret photo; compare also with Pop in Cafe photo, below left)
3. F/Eng Jack Lewis, darker jumper visible below battle jacket (same as 4 in turret photo)
4. Wireless Operator Frederick Henry Worthington
5. Bomb Aimer Vivian Dickson (same as 3 in turret photo)

Seven bombs are visible in the nose art. They usually depict the number of Ops for that aircraft. The Lawson crew was flying in BB446 for its Op Numbers 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, and 14 at 462 Sqdn, from Terria (1943) and El Adem (1944). This photo may therefore have been taken on 05 January 1944 at El Adem, for the aircraft's Op 8; or 09 Jan 1944 for aircraft's 9th Op. No other aircraft flown by the Lawson crew matches so conveniently for Op numbers and dates. However the Rear Gunner on 05 Jan was David Roland Williams; and on 09 Jan was L C Doak; whose names do not appear to match "Larry" as recorded in the Lewis family photos.

 

Three members of the Lawson Crew of 462 Squadron (RAAF), at Alexandria, Egypt, including Frederick Henry Worthington, James Martin Withers(?), and Lyle Anzac Lawson.
Photo from the Frederick Henry Worthington Archives

Three members of the Lawson Crew of 462 Squadron (RAAF), on leave at Alexandria, Egypt, date not known.

Photo above, seated at outdoor tables of a cafe, from left –
1. Fred Worthington with Sgt stripes and "Sparks" badge on sleeve;
2. "Jim", probably Nav James Martin Withers, with Sgt stripes;
3. "Pop", Pilot Lyle Lawson.

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Four members of the Lawson Crew of 462 Squadron (RAAF), at Alexandria, Egypt, including James Martin Withers(?), Frederick Henry Worthington, Vivian Dickson, and David John Lewis.
Photo from the Frederick Henry Worthington Archives

Four members of the Lawson Crew of 462 Squadron (RAAF), on leave at Alexandria, Egypt, date not known.

Photo above, somewhere in Alexandria, from left:
1. Not named (possibly Nav James Martin Withers ?)
2. W/Op Fred Worthington
3. Bomb Aimer Vivian Dickson (Dicky)
4. F/Eng David John Lewis (Jack)

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Pilot

Name: Lyle Anzac LAWSON
Service: Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number: 414243
Date of Birth: 12 December 1915
Place of Birth: Murwillumbah, New South Wales
Date of Enlistment: 17 August 1941
Place of Enlistment: Brisbane, Queensland
Next of Kin: Merle LAWSON
Date of Death: 16 March 1944
Rank at Death: Pilot Officer
Posting at Death: 614 'County of Glamorgan' Squadron (RAF)

Age at Death: 27
Grave reference: No known grave
Commemorated at Malta Memorial, Malta: Panel 16, Column 1
Roll of Honour: Panel 125, Commemorative Area,
Australian War Memorial, Canberra
Son of Percival and Shirley LAWSON
Husband of Merle Winifred LAWSON, Tamworth, NSW
.

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Navigator / Observer

Name: James Martin WITHERS
Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Service Number: 1318127
Date of Birth: .....
Place of Birth: .....
Date of Enlistment: .....
Place of Enlistment: .....
Next of Kin: James WITHERS
Date of Death: 15 March 1944
Rank at Death: Flight Sergeant
Posting at Death: 614 Squadron (RAF)

Age at Death: 23
Grave reference: No known grave
Commemorated at Malta Memorial, Malta: Panel 14, Column 2

Son of James and Anne WITHERS, of Bermondsey, London

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Vivian Dickson 405905 RAAF (later of 462 Squadron) with fellow trainees at Bombing and Gunnery School, Evans Head, NSW.
Photo from Australian War Memorial, No. P02028.003

AWM caption: Evans Head, NSW. Group portrait of participants on a course at the RAAF Bombing and Gunnery School, 30 July 1941.
Back row, 2nd from right, with blue circle: 405905 Leading Aircraftman (later Warrant Officer) Vivian Dickson (killed on operations 16 March 1944).
The names of the other 10 airmen are included on the AWM website.

 

Bomb Aimer

Name: Vivian DICKSON (Dicky)
Service: Royal Australian Air Force
Service Number: 405905
Date of Birth: 16 March 1920
Place of Birth: Brisbane, Qld
Date of Enlistment: 22 June 1941
Place of Enlistment: Brisbane, Qld
Next of Kin: James DICKSON
Date of Death: 16 March 1944
Rank at Death: Warrant Officer
Posting at Death: 614 Squadron (RAF)

Age at Death: 24
Grave reference: No known grave
Commemorated at Malta Memorial, Malta: Panel 16, Column 1
Roll of Honour: Panel 121, Commemorative Area,
Australian War Memorial, Canberra
Son of James Alexander and Sarah Ann DICKSON, of Bilinga, Qld

 

 

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Frederick Henry Worthington, 952045, RAFVR, Wireless Operator at 462 Squadron (RAAF), KIA 614 Squadron (RAF).
Photo from the Frederick Henry Worthington Archives

Above: Wireless Operator Frederick Henry Worthington, in flying gear; Rank, date and location not known.

 

 

Wireless Operator / Air Gunner

Name: Frederick Henry WORTHINGTON (Fred)
Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Service Number: 952045
Date of Birth: .....
Place of Birth: .....
Date of Enlistment: .....
Place of Enlistment: .....
Next of Kin: Dorothy WORTHINGTON
Date of Death: 15 March 1944
Rank at Death: Sergeant
Posting at Death: 614 Squadron (RAF)

Age at Death: 29
Grave reference: No known grave
Commemorated at Malta Memorial, Malta: Panel 15, Column 2

Son of Wilfred and Eleanor WORTHINGTON
Husband of Dorothy Vera WORTHINGTON, of Long Eaton, Derbyshire

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Rear Gunner

Name: David Roland WILLIAMS
Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Service Number: 1740034
Date of Birth: .....
Place of Birth: .....
Date of Enlistment: .....
Place of Enlistment: .....
Next of Kin: J C WILLIAMS
Date of Death: 15 March 1944
Rank at Death: Sergeant
Posting at Death: 614 Squadron (RAF)

Age at Death: 20
Grave reference: No known grave
Commemorated at Malta Memorial, Malta: Panel 15, Column 2

Son of Mrs J C WILLIAMS, of Rhewl, Llangollen, Denbighshire

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Flight Engineer

Name: David John LEWIS (Jack)
Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Service Number: 1583102
Date of Birth: .....
Place of Birth: .....
Date of Enlistment: .....
Place of Enlistment: .....
Next of Kin: Doreen LEWIS
Date of Death: 15 March 1944
Rank at Death: Sergeant
Posting at Death: 614 Squadron (RAF)

Age at Death: 20
Grave reference: No known grave
Commemorated at Malta Memorial, Malta: Panel 15, Column 1

Son of David and Elizabeth Mary LEWIS
Husband of Doreen Mary LEWIS, of Rubery, Warwickshire

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Additional Crew Information
The Service Files and Casualty Files for Pilot Lawson have been sourced from the National Archives of Australia, and information may be added to this page for later monthly updates. Please visit again.

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Lawson Crew Ops at 462 Squadron – transcribed form the 462 Squadron Operational Record Book. Some of the pages are badly faded, or are very poor quality carbon copies (some 1943 originals had been created using very worn carbon paper), so some words are almost illegible.
My apologies for any transcriptions errors.

Pilot Lawson and his usual crew – 11 Ops together. From the table below, it can be seen that 7 of their 11 Ops were in Halifax BB446.

Date Op No A/C Serial Code Z5- Up Down Target Op Type Comments
14/11/1943 1 BB425 ? 0012 0830 Maritza Aerodrome, Rhodes Bombing From Terria;
bombed target; returned safely to base.
1 of 4 aircraft detailed.
05/12/1943 2 JN892 ? 1726 0150 Salonika, Greece Bombing From Terria; bombed target; sighted unidentified twin engine aircraft which crossed nose of JN892 from port to starboard & disappeared; returned safely to base.
1 of 9 aircraft detailed.
08/12/1943 3 BB446 ? 1744 2355 Candia, Crete Bombing From Terria; bombed target, aircraft holed by flak forward of tail plane; Rear Gunner Bevan injured by shrapnel, returned safely to base.
1 of 8 aircraft detailed.
11/12/1943 4 BB446 ? 2328 0453 Suda Bay Flak Defences, Crete Bombing From Terria;
bombed target and returned safely to base.
1 of 8 aircraft detailed.
12/12/1943 5 BB446 ? 1814 2348 Suda Bay Shipping, Crete Bombing From Terria; bombed target and returned safely to base.
1 of 8 aircraft detailed.
26/12/1943 6 BB331 ? 2112 0047 Piraeus docks and shipping, Greece Bombing From Terria; bombed target and returned safely to base.
1 of 7 aircraft detailed.
05/01/1944 7 BB446 ? 2010 0218 Rhodes Harbour Defences Bombing From El Adem; bombed target and returned safely to base.
1 of 5 aircraft detailed.
09/01/1944 8 BB446 ? 2302 0425 Salamis, attack flak & searchlights Bombing

From El Adem; bombed target and returned safely to base.
1 of 7 aircraft detailed.

15/01/1944 9 BB446 ? 2238 0455 Piraeus Harbour Installations, Greece Bombing From El Adem;
Abandoned due to severe icing, bombs jettisoned, diverted to Landing Ground 07 (LG07) on return
1 of 7 aircraft detailed.
04/02/1944 10 BB446 ? 1749 2313 Nickel Raid on Piraeus area Bombing From El Adem; completed task, and returned safely to base.
the only aircraft detailed.
09/02/1944 11 JN896 ? 1740 2200 Candia Harbour, Crete Bombing From El Adem; bombed target and returned safely to base.
1 of 8 aircraft detailed.

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Halifax BB446 Ops at 462 Squadron. The Lawson crew flew BB446 for 7 of the aircraft's 15 Ops at 462 Squadron. This may be the aircraft shown in on of the crew photos, showing nose art with 7 bombs (= 7 Ops).

Date Op No Pilot Up Down Target Comments
18/11/1943 1 Dalton 0135 0745 Candia Harbour, Crete From Terria
21/11/1943 2 Dalton 0135 0707 Heraklion aerodrome, Crete From Terria; one flak hole in port aerleron (sic, aileron)
06/12/1943 3 Potts 1823 0123 Salamis, Greece From Terria
08/12/1943 4 Lawson 1744 2355 Candia, Crete From Terria
11/12/1943 5 Lawson 2328 0453 Suda Bay Flak Defences, Crete From Terria
12/12/1943 6 Lawson 1814 2348 Suda Bay Shipping, Crete From Terria
19/12/1943 7 Juggins 2352 0640

Salamis, Greece, flak & searchlights

From Terria;
Aircraft in searchlights beams twice, approached by single-engine enemy fighter but no attack made

05/01/1944 8 Lawson 2010 0218 Rhodes Harbour Defences From El Adem
09/01/1944 9 Lawson 2302 0425 Salamis, attack flak & searchlights

From El Adem

1101/1944 10 Dalton 1826 2357 Piraeus Harbour Installations, Greece

From El Adem; Icing in cloud

15/01/1944 11 Lawson 2238 0455 Piraeus Harbour Installations, Greece From El Adem
23/01/1944 12 Dalton 2353 0351 Piraeus Harbour Installations, Greece

From El Adem;
early return, abandoned due to oxygen failure

01/02/1944 13 Dalton 1843 2301 Suda Bay, Crete

From El Adem;

04/02/1944 14 Lawson 1749 2313 Nickel Raid on Piraeus area From El Adem
09/02/1944 15 Dalton OR
Hall
1747 2140 Candia Harbour, Crete From El Adem;
two crews both listed for the same aircraft,
times listed for Dalton as the most likely Pilot

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Loss of Lawson Crew and Halifax BB446 at 614 Squadron (all KIA).

This Crew's final Op was on the night of 15/16 March 1944, tasked with bombing the marshalling yards in Sofia, Bulgaria. They were flying in Halifax BB446 as they had done on many previous Ops at 462 Squadron, and took off at 2255 on 15 March from 614 Squadron's base at Celone, Italy. The aircraft was seen to be shot down over Sofia. In 1948 it was reported that following an investigation and enquiries in the Sofia area, no trace of an aircraft or crew could be found.

As they had no known graves, they are commemorated on the Malta Memorial, which is situated in the area of Floriana. It can be identified by the Golden Eagle which surmounts the column, and stands just outside the main entrance to Valletta. Please refer to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for further details and a photo of this Memorial.

For reasons unknown, the two RAAF members of the crew, Lawson and Dickson, have their death recorded as 16 March 1944. However the four RAFVR crew members, Lewis, Withers, Williams and Worthington, all have their death recorded as 15 March 1944.

More information from the A705 Casualty file for Pilot Lawson may be added for later site updates. Please visit again.

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