Tuesday, April 21, 2015


Welcome to the Laws Family Register. 


One Man’s War – A bit of the RAF Part 5

Now the squadron was to go on Transport and by 2nd July I had done a course at Bramcote on using radio beacons for navigation, with just ten hours flying in Oxfords. On 3rd July the crew and I had two and a half hours instruction on converting to the Short Stirling; we then had another four hours on our own getting used to them and doing circuits and bumps including three engine landings and flapless landings. Next day we had an hour and a half night flying, again landing on three engines. Presumably we were now reckoned to be competent on Stirlings as our next flight a few days later was to Brackla where we picked up twenty three passengers and brought them back to base.  

The Stirling V was an odd beast, sitting on a tall under-carriage, it had been lengthened by about five feet to give more load space. This had not improved the stability on take-off and landing and at touch down the pilot’s line of vision was fifteen feet or more above the ground making a good three point landing more difficult. We no longer carried parachutes on transport work, which felt a bit strange at first. However I got an unexpected bonus as I had been using an experimental backpack parachute in the Halifax. No one realised that this moved you forward about three inches in the seat thus impending the final three point landing movement and resulting in too many poor landings. Now I was able to get the column right back and land a few that you didn’t feel touch-down. We had not yet moved into the era of tricycle under-carriages so keeping off the deck until the point of stall was essential.
The squadron was being used to fly freight and troops out to India and back. Our normal Route was via Castel Benito Libya, in North Africa; 

Lydda (Palestine) 

and Shaiba at the top of the Persian Gulf 

to Mauripur (Karachi).

We had to do a freight run before we could be trusted with passengers, this was a bit more leisurely than the passenger trips and we found time to visit Jerusalem and see the sights. We engaged a guide who was standing by looking for tourists even in those days, and he took us round all the bits you are supposed to see. 

It was all very ancient but the tales and myths are strictly for believers and the guide finished up by taking us into a souvenir shop. Here they offered us little cups of sweet tea, locked the door behind us and showed us their wares. Cliff bought a little bible bound in olive wood to send to Louis in the States but we were not very good customers and went on our way.

In Karachi we had a day mostly to do a bit of shopping for a few things that were unobtainable in the UK. This of course included carpets.
The exotic world of India was a revelation to us. Sacred cows wandered in the streets and lay down in the middle of the road if so inclined. They scarcely impeded the traffic, the few carts were drawn by oxen and there were very few motor vehicles. 

On a building site women in colourful saris were carrying blocks on their heads to the bricklayers. At that the hod carriers also carried the bricks on his shoulder in the UK.
One time we had to land at Cairo West instead of Lydda and visited the Pyramids and the Sphinx at Giza though Cairo was out of bounds. Dave our flight engineer, climbed about half way up the great pyramid but Cliff and I were content to stay at the bottom and watch. We entered into the spirit of the thing enough to have our photos taken sitting on a camel but that was our lot.

On the hot airfields in the Middle East the longitudal instability of the lengthened Stirling came into its own and it was said that you could find your way to India by following the trail of burnt out Stirlings. I knew one pilot who’d crashed two and got away with it. The heat also reduced their engine power and take-offs from Shaiba had to be done before dawn, even then power was reduced. I remember getting to the end of the flare path on the oiled and sanded runway with barely enough speed to pull the undercarriage up and hold off the deck, let alone climb until the reduced drag let us lift a little.

We got away with all these hazards except a little contretemps’ when we were diverted to Brussels on our way home, here the marshaller guiding us to a hard standing led us into an unlit barrel of tar which bent our tail wheel doors. There was no one here to repair this but there was a derelict Stirling standing at the edge of the airfield so we set to and acquired its tail wheel doors and replaced our damaged ones with them. 

This must have impressed the local CO as a congratulatory message was received back at the squadron. We managed to find time for a quick look at Brussels and the most impressive thing was the magnificent fruit on sale in the shops. It was less pleasing to see the profusion of harlots on display everywhere even four playing cards at a little table in a shop window.

Our trips to the east came to an end when the squadron came down from Stradishall and converted to Avro Yorks. We brought the old Stirlings down loaded up to the eyebrows with furniture and other squadron equipment and of course our old kite decided to lose and engine as soon as we got off the deck, We crawled round the circuit and everyone turned out to watch us come in on three engines with our load of junk. All the practice we had done on three engines paid off however and I got her down gently in one piece.

Only those who were prepared to sign on again when their turn for demobilisation came up were allowed to convert onto Yorks and this was really only for those who hoped to make flying their career. It seemed to me to have too many snags and I opted to get out as soon as possible. Till then I became a sort of officers mess treasurer, based on my alleged accounting knowhow. It was quite nice at Stradishall and it was within cycling distance of Southgate so I got home frequently.

In due course I collected my demob suit at Wembley and was back in Civvy Street.

The End  

A New Tale Tomorrow

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Family Events from our database for today April 21

1718 - Burial: Jane LAWS-5866, Richmond on Thames SRY UK

                                                    The River Thames at Richmond Surrey

1734 - Baptism: Robert LAWES-42239, Ryton DUR UK
1822 - Birth: William LAWS-42064, 
1822 - Baptism: James LAWS (Shoemaker) -31008, Diss NFK
1834 - Marriage: John LAWS (Shipwright & Plumber) -44246 and Jane ROBINSON-44247, 
           Newcastle upon Tyne NBL UK

                                                              Newcastle Upon Tyne NBL

1838 - Burial: Edward LAWS-8699, St.James Clerkenwell MDX, Harl Soc Vol XX
1839 - Baptism: William LAWS (Grocer / Innkeeper / Coal Merchant) -7436, Chertsey SRY UK
1866 - Birth: Jane Jennifer LAWS-9528, Stokesley NRY UK
1874 - Birth: Cyril Edward LAWS (Bank & Stock Exchange Doorkeeper) -37056, Mile End MDX UK4
1878 - Death: William Thomas LAWS-50962, Gaspe, Quebec CANADA
1878 - Death: James LAWS (Army Nurse (Twin) -3895, Franklin Kansas USA
1898 - Birth: Florence Ethel LAWS-29582, Winnsboro, Wood Co, TX USA
1902 - Burial: Eliza LAWS-119602, Wareham DOR UK

                                                                   Wareham in Dorset

1907 - Marriage: Herbert LAWS (ARMY Private 21260) -4576 and Lily ALLARD-54448, 
           Littleport CAM UK

                                                             Littleport Cambridgeshire

1915 - Birth: Ralph Bousquet LAWES (BOAC E/O) -124432, Croydon SRY UK
1915 - Birth: Hilda Kate LAWES-58412, 
1916 - Military: Discharge of Malcolm William LAWS (ARMY Private 17/1158) -50797, Residence 
           Great Horton WRY UK
1918 - Birth: Grace Lillian LAWS-120160, 
1918 - Residence: John James LAWS (Baker) -45856, Los Angeles CA United States
1918 - Residence: John Newton LAWS (Motor Fitter or Plumber) -45855, Walgrove Los Angeles CA                    United States
1919 - Discharged: Benjamin Charles LAWS (ARMY Acting Sgt 7228) -8787, 
1928 - Marriage: John W FUNK-41241 and Mattie LAWS-41239, 
1938 - Marriage: Leslie Michael IRWIN-3517 and Dorethy May LAWS-3490, 
1945 - Death: Richard N LAWS (Pvte 1st Class US ARMY 20845858) -120032, 
1954 - Miscellaneous: John William LAWS (Accounts Clerk) -123102, 
1954 - Miscellaneous: Leslie LAWS(Manufactures Agent) -123101, 
1955 - Miscellaneous: Harold LAWS (Retired Surveyor) -3205, 
1955 - Miscellaneous: Annie Winifred LAWS (Spinster) -116901, 
1959 - Miscellaneous: Frederick George LAWS (Decorator) -124844, 
1959 - Miscellaneous: William Sidney LAWS (Foreman Pipe Maker) -124843, 
1959 - Estate to: George LAWS (Smallholder) -7723, 
1959 - Residence: Anthony Weedy LAWS (Coal Miner) -47335, Chopwell DUR UK & Death Shotley                    Bridge DUR UK
1962 - Birth: Harry James LAWS (Jnr) -40438, TX USA
1966 - Birth: Buddy D LAWS-123364, 
1970 - Death: Ellen LAWS-39166, 
1985 - Death: Edna Grace LAWS-48689, Crown Point, Lake Co IN United States
1989 - Death: George LAWS-37576, Nunthorpe
1990 - Death: Alan George Holman LAWES-35186, St Ives NSW AUSTRALIA
1994 - Death: Betty Jean LAWS-42404, 
1997 - Death: Joe E LAWS-41432, AR (Newspaper - Arizona Republic)
2004 - Death: Carolyn Sue LAWS (Hosiery Worker)-34480, Valdese General Hospital, Hickory NC
2004 - Burial: Sandra LAWS-34454, Sunset Memorial Park, Spartenburg SC
2010 - Death: Eric LAWS-115377, Wigton CUL UK

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