Flight Sergeant Alan Henry LAWRY

Service No: 418132
Born: 11 March 1919, Location Unknown
Enlisted in the RAAF: 25 April 1942 (at Melbourne VIC)
Unit: No. 100 Squadron (RAF), RAF Station Grimsby, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 100 Squadron Lancaster aircraft LM569), Germany, 19 July 1944, Aged 25 Years
Buried: Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Kleve, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Henry Percy and Charlotte Lawry; husband of Esma Ellen Lawry, of Yallock, Victoria, Australia
Roll of Honour: Bendigo VIC
Remembered: Panel 125, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

No. 460 on 18th-19th July marked the reopening of the Bomber Command campaign against oil by dispatching 18 Lancasters in a main force of 153 (plus 17 pathfinders) against Scholven-Buer. The previous attack by No. 5 Group on 21st-22nd June had been assessed as a relative failure because unfavourable weather had led to a very scattered bombing pattern. On this occasion, however, the
Australians set off in optimistic mood because the forecast weather was good and an intricate pattern of other operations scheduled over Germany and France that night gave some hope that this force might achieve a degree of surprise attack at Scholven-Buer. Both these factors remained favourable throughout the raid because the German night-fighter controllers mistook the force for a diversionary sweep through the Mandrel screen and held back the main body of night fighters to meet some other threat. The Lancasters accordingly reached the Gelsenkirchen area in a compact group and found that there was practically no cloud and only moderate ground haze. In these conditions the pathfinders dropped red target-indicator bombs with great deliberation and backed up the more centrally placed ones with extra markers. A highly concentrated bombing attack then developed, resulting in a very large explosion which impressed even the most experienced crews, for whom this type of target, a relatively small dispersed plant hidden in the natural Ruhr defences, had hitherto not produced spectacular results.

One RAAF crew failed to reach the target because the Lancaster’s escape hatch blew off during the outward journey and the aircraft returned to base. The remaining 17 Lancasters of No. 460 dropped 91 tons (out of a total of 787 tons) from heights between 15,000 and 20,000 feet. All the debriefing reports on return carried a confident note, and this enthusiasm was largely justified by subsequent reconnaissance photographs. Distillation and gas-cleansing plants, hydrogenation stalls and the compressor house had all received substantial damage. Gas-holders, cooling towers, oil tanks and many unidentified buildings in the southern part of the Scholven-Buer works had been hit by bombs. Temporarily this plant was removed from the list of priority targets. The cost had not been high, because, although the integrated ground gun defences of the area had been very active, only four Lancasters (including one from No. 460 and another of No. 100 piloted by an Australian) were lost.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Page 208

Lancaster LM569 took off from RAF Grimsby at 2303 hours on the night of 18/19th July 1944, detailed to bomb Scholven-Buer, Germany. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it failed to return to base. The aircraft was shot down by flak and crashed in the target area at 0135 hours. All the crew members were killed

The crew members of LM569 were:

Sergeant Ronald John Bocking (1399616) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Flying Officer Jeffrey Ross Jones (428767) (Pilot)
Flight Sergeant Alan Henry Lawry (418132) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant John Michael McCarthy (1797927) (RAFVR) (Rear Gunner)
Sergeant Joseph Francis Molloy (1797494) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Albert Roxby (432270) (Air Bomber)
Sergeant Thomas Ireland Scott (1823365) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)

No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster LL957 (Flying Officer Rex Lionel Carr (400318) (Pilot)) on 19 July 1944.


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 A705, 166/24/496

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