Artefacts belonging to an aircraftman who worked on the famous ‘Sir Roderic’ Hawker Hurricane have been donated to RAF Lossiemouth. Mr James Eagles and his sister, Mrs Catherine Lane, visited the Station recently to see the items rehomed at the base of the current ‘Sir Roderic’ aircraft.
The history of the ‘Sir Roderic’ begins in the 1930s with the MacRobert family of Aberdeenshire. Lady Rachel MacRobert and Sir Alexander MacRobert had three sons: their eldest, Alasdair, was killed in a civil flying accident in 1938; Roderic and Iain were both pilots in the RAF, and tragically, they both died whilst on duty flying sorties during World War II. Lady MacRobert immediately donated £25 000 to buy a bomber for the RAF; this aircraft, a Stirling bomber, was named ‘MacRobert’s Reply’ and was part XV Squadron’s fleet. The name remained a fixture on XV Squadron through its history, with subsequent aircraft types receiving the nomenclature until the Squadron disbanded in 2017.
Lady MacRobert’s support to the war effort continued when she donated £20 000 to the RAF to buy four Hurricane fighters; three were named after her sons and the fourth after her. Following the disbandment of XV Squadron it was decided that the MacRobert connection with the RAF would remain at Lossiemouth and so a Typhoon jet on 6 Squadron was named ‘Sir Roderic’.
During World Ward II Aircraftman 2 (AC2) Lawrence Raymond Eagles served in the RAF with 94 Squadron; he was a fitter working on the original Hawker Hurricane named ‘Sir Roderic’ and worked with Sir Roderic MacRobert. It was this connection to her son that led to Lawrence receiving a letter of thanks from Lady Rachel MacRobert after he had written to her following her son’s untimely death.
Mr Eagles, from Ayr, and Mrs Lane donated the personal letter, their father’s war time photo album, a 94 Sqn badge, a limited edition print of the four MacRobert fighters, and a special edition bottle of whisky to RAF Lossiemouth.
Sgt John Le Huquet received the items in the Station Heritage Room and was grateful to Lawrence Eagles’ family for their generosity, he said:
“We’re extremely grateful to receive these personal items from Mr Eagles and Mrs Lane in memory of their late father, Lawrence. We’ll use them to ensure that the legacy of the MacRoberts fighters is remembered and told to future generations.”