Battle of Britain London Monument – AC1 A Lamb

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Privacy Statement The Airmen’s Stories – AC1 A Lamb

 

Albert Lamb of Scotswood, Newcastle was born on 1st January 1921 and worked as a butcher before joining the RAF on 7th June 1940 as an Aircrafthand. He volunteered for aircrew duties and was sent on a short radar course at Yatesbury on 29th June, after which he joined 25 Squadron at North Weald on 21st July.

 

 

He served with 25 Squadron throughout the Battle and was promoted to Sergeant on 23rd September.

 

 

In April 1941 Lamb was involved in some sort of aircraft crash, the details have not yet been discovered. However he suffered third degree burns to his back and legs and was admitted to the RAF Hospital at Rauceby, which at that time specialised in crash victims, especially those with burns.

The squadron had re-equipped with Beaufighters in early 1941 and Lamb was sent to 54 OTU Church Fenton for advanced night-fighter training on 29th April 1942, this included a detachment to 3 Radio School.

He went on to 62 OTU Charter Hall at Berwick in Scotland on 24th July 1942 to prepare for overseas deployment.

He then joined a convoy to Takoradi, Ghana, arriving in August 1942 to join 216 Squadron.

216 operated Lockheed Hudsons ferrying men and supplies to Egypt.

However his posting was delayed by a bout of ill-health and he was treated at 63 General Hospital, Alexandria, Egypt from 17th to 29th October, eventually joining 216 on 3rd November.

 

 

When this posting ended he went to 22 Personnel Transit Camp at Heliopolis, Egypt before joining 272 Squadron on 10th January 1943, another Beaufighter unit.

After two months with them he joined 46 Squadron, also with Beaufighters, on 5th March.

He must have subsequently returned to the UK as he is recorded as arriving at 1 Elementary Air Gunners School on 4th September 1943, given his experience this must have been in an instructing role.

Although his records do not show it, Lamb must have applied to train as a pilot and had been assessed as suitable because his next posting was to a flying school in Rhodesia. He joined an overseas draft on 14th January 1944 and arrived in Bulawayo on 20th February, having docked in South Africa and travelled up by train.

He commenced his training at 28 Elementary Flying Training School, Mount Hampden (now Harare Airport, Zimbabwe) on 21st April, going on to advanced training at 23 Service Flying Training School, Heany, Bulawayo on 15th September. Here he would have flown twin-engine Oxfords.

 

 

Lamb’s records show that he was due for promotion to Warrant Officer but before this came into effect he was demoted down to AC2, no reason is recorded. His family remembers that this was almost certainly for unauthorised low flying, probably over a girlfriend’s house.

Now qualified as a pilot, Lamb was posted to Transit Camp Westlake, situated in a suburb of Cape Town on 22nd March 1945 and embarked for the UK on 3rd May, arriving on the 23rd.

With the war in Europe now over, Lamb joined a huge number of airmen at 7 Personnel Reception Centre, Harrogate before going on to 4 Aircrew Holding Unit at Cranage.

With the RAF’s requirement for pilots now drastically reduced it may be that Lamb thought his future may lie with the Navy as he is recorded as reporting to HMS Macaw on 19th June 1945. This was a Fleet Air Arm station at Bootle, Lancashire where new pilots assembled after overseas training for assessment for advanced training.

In the event this did not come off as he reported to a demobilisation centre at Cardington, Bedfordshire on 2nd November 1945.

Lamb worked as an insurance clerk postwar but suffered ill health, almost certainly linked to his war service, and took his own life on 5th January 1948.

He is buried in West Road Cemetery, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

 

Additional research and photographs courtesy of Heather Laing, Lamb’s niece and Nicki Moulds, his great-niece.

 

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