Malvern College Second World War Casualty

P/O. John Reginald James Laidlay

House and time at Malvern: Sch, 1930 - 1934.

Regiment: R.A.F..
Died: 03 September 1940 aged 23 in . Killed in action.
Cemetery: Abdie Old Churchyard Lindores House Ground

Only son of John Christopher Laidlay (.08) and Maud Laidlay, Lindores, Newburgh, Fife and of Perth.

254 Sqdn. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
The squadron flew Bristol Blenheims, part of Coastal Command, patrolling the North Sea, convoy escort work, and reconnaissance.

'At school he was chiefly remarkable for his initiative and spirit of adventure, an ideal temperament for a Pilot Officer.' (Malvernian, Dec 1940).

The aircraft Blenheim IV N.3608 piloted by P/O Laidlay collided with Blenheim N.3529 in the air at 2000-3000 feet, caught fire and dived into the ground vertically when it is presumed the petrol tanks exploded as parts of the aircraft are scattered over a radius of 50 yards. The main part of the fuselage and engines are buried about 8 feet deep, and it continued to burn until extinguished by a spring of water burst by the aircraft. Nothing left to salvage, except scrap.
There was apparently no attempt to use parachutes and all occupants were killed.
From eye witness accounts the aircraft were practising attacks approximately 8 miles north of Dyce aerodrome in Aberdeenshire. The wing fell off one machine and the other aircraft caught fire, and crashed 1 mile apart.
The pilots concerned were recent arrivals at the Squadron and were being trained for operational duties. They had previously carried out attacks both single and in formation.
Accident report

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