Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Peter G Lawrence 1920-1953

Peter Godfrey Lawrence entered the aircraft industry in 1937 as a Handley Page apprentice, and in 1939 joined the Fleet Air Arm, serving in Swordfish squadrons from 1940-1942 and in the Naval Trials Unit, on test flying duties, until the end of the war.

He joined Blackburn Aircraft as an experimental test pilot in 1945 and, after taking No4 ETPS course, was appointed chief test pilot. His MBE was in recognition of his deck landing trials of the Firebrand 4. In June 1952 he left Brough in order to become an English Electric test pilot, and at the beginning of this year he transferred to Glosters, where he was involved in the experimental flying of the Gloster Javelin prototypes.

He was a great air-racing enthusiast, and from 1948 onwards flew such varied aircraft as Firebrands, Blackburn B.2 and a Proctor in the major events. He won the Kemsley Trophy last summer. He displayed aircraft at the SBAC shows at Radlett and Farnborough, giving a spectacular display with a Firebrand complete with torpedo, rolling it at low altitude. He had flown over 80 types of aircraft and ammaseed more than 3,000 flying hours.

He was killed on June 11th 1953 in a flying accident, whilst flying a prototype Javelin. In an attempt to avoid injury to people and damage to property on the ground, he stayed with the aircraft until 250feet before ejecting, unfortunately he was too low and was killed on impact with the ground.