Search for relatives of Croydon born World War Two pilot Anthony William Lawrence whose remains lay undiscovered for 71 years

A flight of Avro Ansons similar to the one that crashed in Canada on a wartime flight. Copyright is MOD Crown

A flight of Avro Ansons similar to the one that crashed in Canada on a wartime flight. Copyright is MOD Crown

First published in News
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Croydon Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

Long-lost relatives of an RAF officer killed when his plane crashed in Canada in 1942 are being sought so he can have a proper burial.

Croydon-born Pilot Officer Anthony William Lawrence was part of the crew of four onboard an RAF Anson which took off from the Operational Training Unit based at Patricia Bay on October 30, 1942.

But the aircraft never returned to the base in British Columbia and, despite an aerial search lasting four days, the wreckage was not found until October 23 last year when forestry workers stumbled across the plane remains.

The Canadian authorities have found personal effects and human remains at the crash site near Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island.

And, as a result of these finds, an appeal has been launched by the Royal Air Force and Ministry of Defence to try and trace any relatives of Plt Off Lawrence.

Sue Raftree, from the Ministry of Defence’s joint casualty and compassionate centre, said: “We know from our records that Anthony’s civilian occupation was a bank clerk and that his father lived in Nutfield Road, Thornton Heath.

“Unfortunately that is about all we know about him and his family and that’s where the trail goes cold.

“Despite our best efforts we have not been able to trace any family members.

“We would very much like to track down any of Anthony’s relatives with a view to inviting them to any possible future re-interment ceremony so any help that anyone can give us would be much appreciated.”

Plt Off Lawrence, who was 21 at the time of his death, was born in Croydon but at the time he enlisted in the RAF Volunteer Reserve he was living in Bramley Croft, Hindhead, Surrey.

Anyone with any information is asked to call 01452 712612 extension 6303 or extension 7495.

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