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Thread: Robert "Kurt" Lavack

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    Default Robert "Kurt" Lavack

    Hi,
    This will be of interest to Hugh Haliday, Anne Storm, Peter and I hope other members of the forum.
    Following on from a previous post concerning Robert Lavack DFM., who was presumed KIA after a tour in 37 Squadron RAF. I have done more investigating as Robert Lavack was my fathers captain for his final operations with 37 Squadron.
    Robert Lavack is alive and well living in Czech Republic with his Swedish Diplomat wife who is on a posting there.
    From Robert Lavacks posting for the Reading and Rememberance Project 2005 run by the Durham West Arts Centre, Ajax, Ontario in Canada he states as follows.
    I did one tour on fighters, 250 combat hours (this was before and during fall of Tobruk), before switching to Bomber Command. This I did to get out of the desert and the Middle East in general (He didn't succeed).
    On Bombers , I did two tours of bomber raids called ops. There were 40 bomber raids on my first tour and 36 ops on my second tour. I was also involved in a number of supply drops to partisans and my group was involved in the Warsaw supply drops in August 1944.
    He goes on to say that he was based in Foggia in 1944, this would have been his 2nd bombing tour. He also states that he was with the Naval Fleet Air Arm post War. He was a Canadian lad in the Merchant Marine and was one of 6 survivors when his vessel was torpedoed taken to UK where he joined the RAF. He doesn't name the squadrons he was with but i am certain 37 Sqd is one.
    Hugh this would put to rest the idea that he died on Active service during the war.
    Anne he may well have known your father. Peter thanks for your original query re this man.
    It should also be of interest to Canadian members that Robert Lavack was involved with the development of the Norval Morrisseau Postage Stamp.
    He is at present writing about his Wartime and other experiences. I have emailed a person who is in contact with Robert Lavack and I am hoping he will be gracious enough to contact me.
    I will keep the forum advised of progress as I am sure those members mentioned will be interested to learn more as am I myself.
    Regards,
    Rob Jerram.

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    Rob
    Do you think Lavack means that his sqdn was part of the 205 group RAF ?
    quote "I was also involved in a number of supply drops to partisans and my group was involved in the Warsaw supply drops in August 1944"

    31 /34 SAAF ,178/148 RAF ,Polish SD sqdns & some USAAF sqdns took part in the Warsaw airlifts from Italy 1944

    Regards
    Anne

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    Anne,
    He was part of RAF and yes he would have been part of 205 Group. He states he was based in Foggia both 40 and 104 were there and I believe you said your Dad was with 104 for a time. I am picking that he was with one of these two but could well be wrong. Until I can get more info I'm only going to be guessing. He does state that he was involved with a number of drops to the partisans and my group was involved in the Warsaw supply drops of August 1944
    Regards,
    Rob Jerram.
    Last edited by RobJ; 11th May 2009 at 22:24. Reason: additional information.

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    Hello Rob,

    I have just checked the Archive. The subject of 'Lavack', was well-aired back in June, 2006 by Henk Welting, Paul McMillan and Ken (MacLean?). Much of what was said later (including my own contribution) had already been firmly established by the said 'Gentlemen'.

    I had no knowledge of their postings at the time, so here and now, I acknowledge, 'The Pioneers'.

    That lets me off the hook!

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 12th May 2009 at 00:47. Reason: minor correction

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    Hi Col,
    Thanks for that information and yes thank you to Henk and company. The full picture is now coming together and hope to complete the quest soon. Will update as soon as possible.
    Thanks,
    Rob Jerram.

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    Rob
    Yes my father [F/O T R Millar RAAF] was in 104 RAF in Italy .I'm not sure from when but until June /July 1944, then he was seconded to 31 SAAF & flew to Warsaw in August '44 .

    There were drops to partisans in Yugoslavia & raids to the oil fields at Ploesti, rail yards & mining done by many of the sqdns based at Foggia, as well as drops to Italian partisans.

    Anne

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    Hi Anne,
    Thanks for that information have emailed you.

    To all formites who are interested,
    Robert Lavack is alive and well a quite remarkable man who is more than willing to share his knowledge and experience with me. I feel very humbled by his quick response, so stay tuned formites and all will be answered I hope.
    Regards,
    Rob Jerram.
    Last edited by RobJ; 12th May 2009 at 16:04. Reason: spell check

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    I looked at the history of Lavack some time ago as he was the pilot of a Wellington 789 in which my father had a air test while at 76 OTU Aqir on March 4th 1944. Dad went on to join 40 Squadron at Foggia. I don't think there is any mention of Lavack in 40 Squadron in Dave Gunby's book so I assume he was with 37 Squadron.

    Foggia is very vague, there were several airfields around that area and I understand that 37 Sqadron was a Tortorella

    My first search turned up the fact that he was buried in Tunisia some months before the flight, which clearly was not the case!! There is some interesting stuff about how he got his DFM.

    I also found a work sheet produced by a Canadian Education Authourity in which Lavack talks about his experiences, must try and find that again. Here it is.

    http://www.dwac.ca/forms/OralHistoryRobtLavack.pdf
    http://www.dwac.ca/forms/RRlavack2.pdf

    I think he relinquished his commission in the RAF and joined the Navy.
    Last edited by Wimpy; 12th May 2009 at 22:10.
    An American airman, was told at Briefing to ‘Go in at 30,000 feet and keep out of the flak.”
    “If I go in a 20,000 feet, what will happen?’ asked the airman.
    “You’ll probably be mentioned in despatches”, answered the officer.
    “If I go in at 10,000 feet ?“ he asked.
    “In that case you will probably get the Congress Medal”, he was told.
    "And if I go in at 5,000 feet?’ he inquired excitedly.
    “Don’t be a fool, man”, replied his superior, “you’ll go and bump into the R.A.F. at that height.”

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    Hi All,
    For those interested Robert Lavack joined RAF starting after OTU training, with in late 1940 early 1941 RAF 73 Squadron flying Hurricanes in UK, which at the time was being absorbed by other squadrons. He ended up going to the M.E. as part of RAF 6 Squadron Hurricanes referred to as the tank busters and was involved in the first battle of El Alamein, completed a full tour of 250 hrs. He then joined 37 Squadron for a full tour of ops and at end of August 1943 he was sent to 76 OTU at Aqir. Six months later he joined 37 Squadron again even though he had been converted onto B-24's prior to joining back up with 205 Group and had expected to be put into a Liberator Squadron. Based out of Foggia he completed another tour and then joined the R.N. (Fleet Air Arm) to get back into fighters which he found safer than the bombers. Robert Lavark still leads a very active life today and has been a most enlightening and interesting man to correspond with. He has been able to give me, even at this early stage in our discussions a truly marvelous insight into the War years.
    Regards,
    Rob Jerram.

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