A model of the Fairey Swordfish has been presented to the Heritage Centre at RAF Lossiemouth in memory of Lieutenant Commander Leon Chester-Lawrence and other pilots of the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force who lost their lives at RAF Lossiemouth.
The intricate model was presented on permanent loan to the Station Warrant Officer, Warrant Officer Al Milligan, by Flight Lieutenant (Retired) Adrian Stephens on behalf of the Stephens family. Flt Lt Stephens was joined by his father Anthony Stephens who had served at Royal Naval Air Station Lossiemouth for five years as a member of the Fleet Air Arm at the time of Lt Cdr Chester-Lawrence’s death in 1958, and was a second cousin of the pilot.
The model Fairey Swordfish, an emblem of the Fleet Air Arm, has been hand crafted in mahogany. On the stand there is a swatch of doped fabric taken from the original aircraft; that swatch is signed by Bruce Vibert, the pilot of a Swordfish in the attack on the Italian Fleet in Taranto Harbour, 1940.
Leon Chester Lawrence was killed when the Hawker Hunter he was testing crashed on the perimeter of the Lossiemouth base. He is interred in Lossiemouth Cemetery, Inchbroom Road.
Adrian Stephens said:
“I can think of no better place than this very fine Heritage Centre in which to exhibit for all to see, a memento to all of our flyers, those of Her Majesty’s Royal Navy, and the Royal Air Force.
“It is noted that the military graves in Lossiemouth Cemetery are exceptionally well cared for, and we must remember, and thank, the War Graves Commission for the sterling work that it carries out for us all, in caring for those who gave their lives in the service of their country, whether in peace time or in war. May I urge all visitors to this museum, to consider a visit to that cemetery.
“The Hann, Cooper, and Stephens families, express their sincere gratitude to Group Captain Jim Walls and Sgt John Le Huquet, for making this presentation possible.
"We express our thanks too, to the Fly Navy Team at Yeovilton for their help in acquiring this fine model, the emblem of the Fleet Air Arm’s proud heritage.”