Sergeant David Maxwell Laing

On Monday, 6 April 1942, Sergeant David Laing took off for a mission to Essen in Germany from RAF Grimsby.  Also known by locals as RAF Waltham or Waltham Grange Aerodrome, RAF Grimsby was built in the early 1930s. The airfield re-opened as RAF Grimsby in late 1941. RAF 142 Squadron soon arrived from RAF Binbrook, which was temporarily closed for the concreting of its runways. 

Laing’s aircraft was Vickers Wellington Mk IV, Z1205, code QT-W of RAF 142 squadron. It had departed on its mission at 00:14 hours, Tuesday, 7 April 1942. The aircraft was reported as being shot down by flak near the Hauptbahnhof (Train Station) in Köln, which is way too far south of their route to Essen. It is possible that this was another Wellington X3489 of RAF 75 Squadron which was lost the previous night. It is not known where Z1205 was lost.  

The crew are buried at the Rheinburg War Cemetery (Britischer Ehrenfriedhof) at Kamp-Lintfort in Germany, north-west of Duisburg. 

Flight Sergeant George Henry Mays, RAFVR (963891), pilot, age 34 

Sergeant Lawrence Ernest Taylor, RAFVR (1181905), pilot, age 20 

Flight Sergeant Victor Reginald Dufton, RAFVR (920226), observer, age 24 

Sergeant David Maxwell Laing, RAFVR (1003165), wireless operator/air gunner, age 23 

Sergeant Francis Geoffrey Huntley, RAFVR (1165241), wireless operator/air gunner, age 21 

Laing was the son of Thomas and Mary Maxwell Laing of 56 Darnhall Drive, Perth. In civilian life, Laing was a compositor employed by D Leslie Printers, Canal Street, Perth. He was a member of Pullar’s Swimming Club and after finishing his apprenticeship  joined the RAF (in 1940).

Prior to his death, Laing had been on 23 operational missions over enemy territory. He was due to be grounded for a short time after his last flight. One week before he was reported missing, he had been on leave at home. 

The British Cemetery of Honour, the Rheinburg War Cemetery is the largest Commonwealth war cemetery in Germany with 7,654 graves. 

Sergeant David Maxwell Laing, Perthshire Advertiser 11 April 1942

BADGE OF AN R.A.F. SQUADRON (CH 11373) Original wartime caption: The badge of No.142 R.A.F. squadron whose motto is ‘DETERMINATION’.(Picture issued 1943). Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: