Lawrie Shuttleworth

Squadron commander Lawrie Shuttleworth tribute page

Hi and welcome to this page;

During March 2013 I had the privilege to meet and video interview Lawrie Shuttleworth at his home in Kimberley. Lawrie is 98 years old and still runs a business. Thanks to the SAAF Ysterplaat museum curator Chris Teale who initiated the opportunity for me to meet Lawrie. 

1940, Kenia

2013, Kimberley 

Lawrence Hamilton Gordon Shuttleworth joined the South African Air Force's  "Pirow" pilot  training scheme in 1937 and qualified as a pilot in 1939. He was called up for active duty when war broke out and served in the East African campaign flying mainly army close support sorties including reconnaissance and bombing missions. He was  attached to 40 and 41 squadrons and flew Hartebeest  aircraft.

On his return to South Africa Lawrie converted to twins. He then joined 25 squadron and for a year and a half flew Ventura bombers on SA's coast line to protect Allied shipping against German submarines. He was the OC of 25 squadron.

25 Squadron was sent to Italy in mid 1944. The squadron flew  bombing missions  to mainly  Balkan countries. The squadron converted to Marauder bombers at the end of 1944 but in December Lawrie was transferred to 15 squadron as their OC.  In 15 Squadron Lawrie flew Baltimore bombers until his tour expired in March 1945.

During his operational flying Lawrie was shot down twice and also  made a sea crash landing due to engine failure. At the end of the war he had logged nearly 1700 flying hours. He is also a recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross and  held the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

After the war Lawrie had a long and successful career in auditing. He also served for many years in the Kimberley town council where he was the mayor at one stage.

Thanks to Lawrie for his kindness during my visit and for telling his war story in front of the camera.

This is a living web site. Any input and/or participation will be much appreciated regarding additional information, correctness, information from relatives of members who served with Lawrie in his squadrons, photographs, stories etc. Please e-mail me. Most welcome will be any photographs of  his squadrons while Lawrie was with them.

If you perhaps have a family member who served as a SAAF fighter pilot during WW2 and you would want to find out more about his war service please contact me, hopefully I can be of some help.

Tinus le Roux

September 2013




Pilot training



 Hawker Hartebeest. This is the aircraft type  in which Lawrie flew most of his operational sorties during the East African campaign. 40 and 41 Squadrons were tasked in an army co-op role. They did mostly reconnaissance but also performed bombing and ground strafing.

 Military Service


15/04/1937    Baragwanath F/S, Pupil Pilot's course, 9 Flt, U.A.T.C.

28/02/1939    Qualified as a pilot and obtained wings (Waterkloof A/S)

28/02/1939    Promoted to 2/Lt.

28/09/1939    Called up, joined No. 12 Squadron

28/09/1939 ? Promoted to Lt.

01/05/1940    No. 40 Army co-op squadron, Hartebeest aircraft, SA

19/06/1940    No. 40 Army co-op squadron operational service East Africa, flying Hartebeest aircraft

11/07/1940    Lawrie's Hartebeest attacked by CR-42's. He spinned but recovered. His aircraft was hit. Map case shot out from Lawrie's hands, one gun and radio also knocked out.

21/10/1940    Transferred to Communications flight, Nairobi, flying Valentia transport aircraft

12/12/1940    Transferred to No. 41 Army co-op squadron operational service, Hartebeest aircraft

23/02/1941    Lawrie was attacked by two CR-42's, 7 minute evading maneuvers, one CR-42 claimed damaged by Lawrie's gunner.

28/03/1941    Transferred to MAF depot, South Africa

05/06/1941    Transferred to No. 5 fighter squadron

05/06/1941    Promoted to Capt.

07/07/1941    Transferred to No.41 army co-op squadron, Abyssinia, operational service, flying Hartebeest aircraft.

28/09/1941    Lawrie's Hartebeest 839 shot down by friendly fire from Abyssinian fighters, crash landed in field and flipped over. Lawrie and his gunner slightly injured.

30/01/1942    Acting OC for 41 sqdn.

07/04/1942    DFC awarded

21/05/1942    MAF depot Roberts Heights

30/07/1942    No. 62 Air School Bloemfontein, conversion to twins, flying Oxford aircraft

19/09/1942    No. 56 Air School Germiston, flying Lodestar and Ventura aircraft

23/02/1943    Transferred to No. 25 T.B.R. squadron, Port Elizabeth, flying Ventura aircraft, coastal patrols and shipping escourts, became squadron OC

15/05/1944    Promoted to Lt.-Colonel

02/06/1944    No. 25 squadron in transit to Middle East for operational service, flying Venturas

20/06/1944    Conversion from GR to bombing duties on Venturas

30/08/1944    25 sqdn attached to Balkan Air Force, stationed in Italy, flying bombing sorties

28/09/1944   Ventura crashed in sea just after take-off, two passangers drowned, Lawrie and crew survived.

04/12/1944   Convert to Marauders, first flight belly landed

09/12/1944   Transferred to No.15 sqdn, OC, flying Baltimore bombers

18/02/1945   Baltimore got hit, engine on fire, crash landed in own lines




 Inspecting a shot down Italian CR-42; Lawrie standing on the right,. This was the last Italian aircraft to be shot down in the East African campaign.




Email received from Lawrie in December 2015: by then he was 100 years old:

 Hi Tinus

Good to hear from you!

Picture taken in Abyssinia at either  Alomata or  Axum.

From left to right:- Lindsay Smith, Intelligence Officer, myself, Teddy Anderson, pilot, Joe Neville, air mechanic, Major Toby Moll, O\C 41 Squadron. I cannot identify the next man, who is possibly a cypher officer.

Kind regards,




Lawrie's aircraft being shot down, Abyssinia 1941

Ventura of presumably 25 squadron on coastal patrol. 

Lawrie with his flight in Abysinnia during the last battle of the East African campaign: the capture of Gondar.

25 Squadron, Lawrie as OC. 

Baltimore bomber of 15 squadron . 




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