Sergeant Morton LAWRENCE

Service No: 10095
Born: Elsternwick VIC, 25 December 1918
Enlisted in the RAAF: 26 March 1940
Unit: General Reconnaissance School, Bairnsdale VIC
Died: Aircraft Accident (General Reconnaissance School Anson aircraft DG213), Bairnsdale VIC, 24 February 1945, Aged 26 Years
Buried: Bairnsdale War Cemetery, VIC
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Joseph and Marguerita Lawrence; husband of Marjorie Stokes Lawrence, of Edgecliffe, New South Wales.
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 116, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

The notorious Gippsland fog returned in force the next day (24 February 1945) to wreak havoc with the night flying program of No 1 Operational Training Unit and the General Reconnaissance School at Bairnsdale. Sixteen Avro Anson aircraft from the school were conducting night flying exercises and became lost between Morwell and Bairnsdale. Five Ansons crashed due to the weather and among the 60 aircrew airborne that evening, two men died.

Extract from Lax, M. (Mark) (editor) Always Ready: a history of RAAF East Sale, RAAF Publications Unit Melbourne VIC, 1993 – Page 41

Of the five Anson aircraft involved in major incidents, three – N4920, W2557 and DJ213 – made forced landings, DG213 crashed at Bairnsdale killing Sergeant Morton Lawrence (10095) and AX225 crashed at Rosedale killing Flight Sergeant Douglas Julius Irwin MacLeod (436836).

At 2345 hours on 24 February 1945, Avro Anson DG213 crashed 500 metres from the northern boundary of the Bairnsdale aerodrome due to extreme weather and fog. The crew members were:

Flying Officer William Lewis Haymes (443637) Slightly Injured, Discharged from the RAAF: 27 May 1946
Sergeant Morton Lawrence (10095) (Pilot)
Warrant Officer John Keith Andrew Phillips (409586) Slightly Injured, Discharged from the RAAF: 31 July 1945
Sergeant Edward John Richardson (444088) Seriously Injured, Discharged from the RAAF: 22 September 1945


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A9845, 63

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