Battle of Britain London Monument – Sgt. J T Lawrence

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Privacy Statement The Airmen’s Stories – Sgt. J T Lawrence


John Thornett Lawrence was born on 16th April 1920 and attended the Crypt School in Gloucester.

He joined the RAFVR about October 1938 as an Airman u/t Pilot. Called up on 1st September 1939, he completed his training and joined 235 Squadron on 5th October 1940.

On November 23rd 1940, whilst still with 235 squadron, he was wounded following an attack on two flak ships off the Danish coast.

Commissioned in August 1941, he served as a staff pilot with 3 School of General Reconnaissance until 1942 when he was posted to 202 squadron in Gibraltar flying Sunderlands and Catalinas.

He remained with 202 Squadron until 1943 when he was posted as an instructor to 111 OTU, operating Liberators in Nassau, Bahamas Islands.

In 1945 he was posted to 86 Squadron at Tain, again flying Liberators.

Lawrence was awarded the AFC (gazetted 14th June 1945) and the Chevalier of the Order of Leopold (Belgium) 1945 and the Croix de Guerre (Belgium) 1945.

He remained with 86 Squadron until his last day of war service on 2nd July 1946 and was released with the rank of Flight Lieutenant.

He was awarded the Air Efficiency medal in 1946.

Lawrence rejoined the RAF in April 1947 on a permanent commission.

He served as a personal assistant to the AOC Central Germany from 1947-48. He then became Director of staff at the Flying College at Manby for 3 years until 1951 when he was given command of 14 (F) Squadron, operating Venoms at Fassberg in Germany. He remained with them until 1955 when he took up an appointment as Personal Secretary to the Secretary of State for Air.

This was followed by postings as staff officer at HQ 6 ATAF Izmir (1956), OC Flying Royal Radar Research Unit (1958-61), Group Captain Ops HQ AFME Aden (1961-64), CO at RAF Wittering operating Victor B2 bombers armed with the Blue Steel missiles (1964-67) and AOC 3 Group Bomber Command (1967).

Lawrence was awarded the CBE (Military) in 1967.



In 1968 he attended the Imperial Defence College as a student and went the next year to the MoD as Director of Admin plans.

From 1971-73 he was Director General Personnel Management RAF.

His final post was as Air Officer for Scotland and Northern Ireland which he held until his retirement from the RAF with the rank of Air Vice Marshal on 16th April 1975.

Lawrence was awarded the CB in 1975.

He then joined Rolls Royce and worked for them until he retired on his 61st birthday.


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