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Thread: 'Laddie' Lucas' Spitfire forced landing, Prince's Golf Course, Sandwich

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    Default 'Laddie' Lucas' Spitfire forced landing, Prince's Golf Course, Sandwich

    Hello all,
    I have been sent a photograph of a small memorial that marks the spot where Percy Belgrave ‘Laddie’ Lucas forced landed his Spitfire at the Prince’s Golf Club, Sandwich, supposedly in July 1943. The plaque attached to the memorial says that the incident took place in July 1943, the month that Lucas left 616 Squadron to lead the Coltishall Wing, but I cannot find any reference to this incident in the squadron ORB (I have checked a few months either side of July 43 too). Does anyone have any more information about this event, such as an exact date or aircraft ID?
    Any info much appreciated.
    Thanks
    Tom

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    Default Re: 'Laddie' Lucas' Spitfire forced landing, Prince's Golf Course, Sandwich

    Hello,

    Possibly:

    8/9/1943
    Coltishall Wing
    Spitfire V ?

    Ramrod, south of Dunkirk, am. Cat B damage. Pilot was the Wing Leader.

    W/C P. B. Lucas DFC - Safe.

    FCL2/122

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 6th June 2021 at 15:53.

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    Tom Allett (6th June 2021)

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    Default Re: 'Laddie' Lucas' Spitfire forced landing, Prince's Golf Course, Sandwich

    Many thanks, Col.
    Is there such a thing as an ORB for the "Coltishall Wing"?
    Regards,
    Tom

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    Default Re: 'Laddie' Lucas' Spitfire forced landing, Prince's Golf Course, Sandwich

    The “Gospel according to Wikipedia” records he was born nearby this golf course and that he used his local knowledge to land there. Not sure how reliable this is.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laddie_Lucas

    Jim

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    Tom Allett (8th June 2021)

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    Default Re: 'Laddie' Lucas' Spitfire forced landing, Prince's Golf Course, Sandwich

    Hello Jim
    Yes, the bit about his birthplace is certainly correct and there is no doubt that he crash landed a Spitfire on the golf course, but identifying the date and aircraft serial has proved to be a real problem so far. Can't even be sure if it was 1943 or '44 at the moment!
    Thanks,
    Tom

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    Default Re: 'Laddie' Lucas' Spitfire forced landing, Prince's Golf Course, Sandwich

    What does his autobiography say about the incident

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    Default Re: 'Laddie' Lucas' Spitfire forced landing, Prince's Golf Course, Sandwich

    I ordered a copy a few days ago to see if it is mentioned, but it hasn't been delivered yet.
    Hoping it will reveal all!

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    Default Re: 'Laddie' Lucas' Spitfire forced landing, Prince's Golf Course, Sandwich

    The book – Five Up - has arrived but, unfortunately, it does not add much in the way of detail about the incident.
    The book jumps backwards and forwards in time, and the crash landing upon the golf course is mentioned early in the book, chapter 2 of 38, with no reference to even what year it took place.
    Lucas wrote: “We often used Manston as a forward operating base from where we could fly sweeps across France. Coming back one day from an escort mission to Lille, I was hit, in circumstances best left unsaid, in the engine and starboard wing by a Me109. At around 17-18,000ft over Le Touquet, with smoke in the cockpit and the engine sounding decidedly rough, things were not promising.
    Ahead, the Straits of Dover had to be crossed. Halfway across, as the White Cliffs beckoned, the engine called it a day.
    "In the distance, I saw Sandwich Bay and then the clubhouse at Prince’s golf course and I dispelled any thoughts about bailing out."
    He then describes the belly landing and ends with “I undid my straps, stood up in the cockpit at looked around. The course was so overgrown I could hardly recognise it.”
    The next chapter goes back to 1937 and although it again jumps forward in time and includes a lot of interesting info about the fighting over Malta, the golf course incident is not mentioned again.
    Presumably, this incident must have happened while he was at 616 or the Coltishall Wing.
    Any thoughts / suggestions gratefully received!

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    Default Re: 'Laddie' Lucas' Spitfire forced landing, Prince's Golf Course, Sandwich

    Hello Col Bruggy,
    Thank you for your earlier post regarding information in 'FCL' (Fighter Command Losses?).
    Can you spare the time to see if there is a similar entry for July '43?
    Much appreciated...obviously, I do not have that book.

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