Flt.Lt. Derek Lincoln Rawnsley, RAF

Male 1912 - 1943  (30 years)

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  • Name Derek Lincoln Rawnsley 
    Prefix Flt.Lt. 
    Suffix RAF 
    Born 24 Nov 1912 
    Gender Male 
    Military Service WW2 Prewar: Founder of School Prints Ltd.

    From The London Gazette 30 July 1940: 'The undermentioned are granted commission for the duration of hostilities as Pilot Officers on probation:- 15th July 1940. Derek Lincoln RAWNSLEY (81849)

    From the Special Forces Roll of Honour:
    Former L Detachment SAS (RAF Ground Liaison Officer), Flight Lieutenant RAFVR 70563.
    Served with SAS 1942
    Killed in accident with 204 Group RAF.
    Buried at Bulawayo (Athlone) Cemetery, Zimbabwe, Grave 68
    Died 22 Feb 1943 
    Obituary 2 Mar 1943 
    'RAWNSLEY.- In Feb., 1943, on active service, FLIGHT LIEUT. DEREK L. RAWNSLEY, R.A.F., dearly loved husband of Brenda (nee Hugh-Jones), Gezira House, Zamalek, Cairo, and youngest son of Mr & Mrs Noel Rawnsley.'
    (England, Andrews Newspaper Index Cards, 1790-1976) 
    Obituary 12 Mar 1943  The London Times Find all individuals with events at this location 
    "Flight Lieutenant Derek L. Rawnsley who was killed on active service in February, was born at Seven Oaks and went to Summerfields Preparatory School from which he gained a King's Scholarship for Eton, and from there went on to University College, Oxford. At Eton he was Vice Captain of the Field Game and Keeper of The Wall, besides winning his place in the Eight and the Rugby XV. He was co-founder of the Public Schools magazine, "The Gate". At Oxford he had the rare distinction of being given trials for both the University Eight and the Rugby XV. He joined the University Air Squadron and passed his "A" Certificate shortly before he left. On a visit to Norway, he learned to ski, and while on a solitary ski journey to the North Cape experienced the first of the of the amazing escapes from death which characterised his career - he broke his leg and was found by a chance traveller as dark was falling, being thus saved from death from exposure. On recovering, he escorted emigrant children to the Kingsley Fairbridge Farm, Western Australia, and in 1932 bought in Australia an old "Moth" which had formerly belonged to Kingsford-Smith and with little knowledge of air navigation set out upon a solo flight back to England which ended, after many hairbreadth escapes and adventures, at Abingdon Airport near Oxford. His explanation was that, having put off his departure too long, this was the only way of arriving back at Oxford in time for term.

    "In 1935, he embarked upon his first independent commercial venture with the opening by Sir Philip Sassoon of a gallery for the hire of pictures by contemporary artists. In 1938, Rawnsley founded the Federal Union movement with an advisory council at the head of which stood the late Lord Lothian with Sir William Beveridge, Master of University College, Oxford. The latter writes:- "My personal contacts with him dated from the time he came to see me as one of the three young men who, by founding Federal Union in this country even before the appearance of the book by Clarence Street (who also was a member of this College) set out to stop this World War and thereafter to ensure, if possible. that it was the last of its kind. Derek Rawnsley was one of the type essential to salvation which sets out to do things because they have never been done before and because they seem impossible. Unless, after this War we have sufficient men of his type, ripened by experience and judgement, the was may prove to have been fought in vain."

    "Until the fall of France, when he joined the R.A.F., Rawnsley devoted his attention to an idea for civil infiltration and the organised passive and active resistance of European countries which was to have been called "Three Arrows". In his 31 years, Rawnsley had experienced more of life than many much older men. He had taken part in the toughest games at school: had ski-ed, sailed his own ship, competed in Ocean races, learned to glide in Germany and England, jackerooed on the "out-back" sheep and cattle stations in Australia, and had piloted his own aeroplane half around the world."

    In 1941 he married Miss Brenda Hugh-Jones and a photograph taken on their wedding day shows them both in uniform, he a typical flyer and she an exceptionally lovely girl of about 20. He left immediately after the wedding for the Mediterranean Sphere of Operations and lost his life in North Africa in February 1943 while en route to meet his bride for a period of leave together. 
    Probate 1 Nov 1943  Llandudno Find all individuals with events at this location 
    RAWNSLEY Derek Lincoln of The Berkeley Berkeley-street London W.1 died 22 February 1943 on war service Probate Llandudno 22 March to Raglan Squire architect and Richard James Atkey solicitor. Effects 4525 4s.3d. 
    Person ID I12814  Simpson & Elder
    Last Modified 18 Nov 2017 

    Father Noel Hardwicke Rawnsley,   b. 14 Dec 1880, Wray, Lancashire Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1952, Capri, Italy Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 71 years) 
    Mother Violet Hilton Cutbill,   b. 19 Oct 1876,   d. 11 Apr 1967, Anacapri, Italy Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 90 years) 
    Married Jul - Sep 1903  Bromley, Kent Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F518  Group Sheet

    Family Brenda Mary Hugh-Jones,   b. 31 Jul 1916, Cowley, Oxford Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 26 Jun 2007  (Age 90 years) 
    Married 15 Feb 1941  London Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • 'RAWNSLEY - HUGH-JONES. On Feb 15 1941, in London, Flying Officer DEREK L. RAWNSLEY, R.A.F.V.R., youngest son of Noel and Mrs Rawnsley, Annacapri, Italy, to BRENDA MARY, eldest daughter of Llewelyn HUGH-JONES, Athens, Greece, and of Mrs Pelly, Kingsteignton, Devon.'
      (England, Andrews Newspaper Index Cards, 1790-1976)
    Last Modified 21 May 2013 
    Family ID F519  Group Sheet

  • Photos
    From 'Massacre at Tobruk: The British Assault on Rommel, 1942' by Peter C. Smith
    From 'Massacre at Tobruk: The British Assault on Rommel, 1942' by Peter C. Smith
    Brenda and Derek Rawnsley
    Brenda and Derek Rawnsley

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