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Bobby Laumans, photo by André Bar

Bobby Laumans, photo by Andre Bàr

Born on 4 December 1920 at Tervuren. He was a pupil at the Flying School (Wevelghem) of the Aé Mil at the outbreak of War. He evacuated with the Flying School to France (Caen – Capriquet) and arrived via Marseille and Oran to Oujda, Morocco at the time of French capitulation. Escaped to Great Britain with a part of the Flying School, arriving there on August 5th, 1940.Sent to Tenby, he volunteered for RAFVR and was transferred to RAF Depot St-Athan (13 August 1940) and then to the newly formed Franco-Belgian Service Flying School at Odiham (2 November 1940). Laumans instructor here was Henry Gonay. After 4 months of instruction, he was sent to SFTS of Ternhill (15 February 1941). Graduated pilot, March 1941, he joined 58 OTU (2 June 1941) at Grangemouth. He was posted after training to 74 Sqn (27 July 1941) at Acklington. Next posting saw his arrival to 350 Sqn on April 3, 1942. The 1st June 1942, the Squadron performed a “Target Cover” for Bomber-Hurricanes to Bruges. The Squadron encountered a big formation of FW-190. During the melee, Laumans flying as Blue 3 (Spitfire Mk V – AB173) was shot down near Ostend, but succeeded to bale out before his plane crashed in to the sea. He stayed 3 days and 2 nights in his dinghy, before being picked up by the Germans and send as POW to Stalag Luft III. He joined SABENA after the War.

Text : 350sqn.be

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