Friends of the Somme - Mid Ulster Branch  
Date Information
29/02/2020 In April 1940 Robert decided to run away from school to join the RAF. He enlisted in the RAFVR at Padigate on 22 April 1940, aged 16, as an Aircraftsman/Flight Mechanic (AC1).
29/02/2020 On 20th November 1942, Sergeant Robert Laverty was on board a Catalina (Serial No FP153) when it took off on an anti-submarine patrol escorting a convoy KMS-3 which had sailed from the Clyde some days earlier. There were 53 ships in the convoy.
29/02/2020 Squadron records show that Robert flew a total of seven sorties. All sorties were antisubmarine patrols escorting convoys either in the Atlantic or Mediterranean.
29/02/2020 On 18th October Robert Laverty was posted to 202 Squadron, based in Gibraltar. 202 Squadron were flying Catalina flying boats from Gibraltar on anti-submarine patrols, escorting the main convoys sailing from the UK to North Africa.
29/02/2020 On 13th June 1942 he was promoted to Flight Sergeant and qualified as an Air Gunner. Five days later Robert finally joined 235 Squadron of Coastal Command flying Beaufighters VIís from Docking in Norfolk. The Beaufighters were used for attacking shipping off the Dutch coast.
29/02/2020 All these postings were for aircrew training.
29/02/2020 On 7th February 1942 he was posted to Tactical Training Unit at Abbotsinch and to No. 9 Air Gunnery School (Llandwrog) and No. 9 AFU (Hulavington) on 13th June 1942.
29/02/2020 As the Catalina crossed the first ships, SS Oerlikon in the centre opened fire. Immediately, a barrage of light and heavy flak was sent up by all the Merchant Navy ships in the vicinity. The Catalina was hit repeatedly by continuous and very heavy fire, it burst into full flames before spinning into the sea. There were no survivors. The crew of Catalina were:
29/02/2020 After training, Robert qualified as Flight Mechanic Airframes (AC2) and was posted to 35 Squadron on 20th December 1940 at Linton-on-Ouse.
29/02/2020 Flying Officer Alexander Lyon CAMPBELL (120236)
29/02/2020 In 1938 he went to study at Armagh College.
29/02/2020 Robert attended Aughanlig school on the Armagh side of Charlemont.
29/02/2020 It was in this uncertain financial environment that young Robert Laverty grew up. He was a lively child and had a love of animals and anything mechanical.
29/02/2020 The Laverty family were well known as international horse dealers and breeders. The family had supplied horses to European armies for over 100 years including some of those used by the Light Brigade in the Crimea. Robert Laverty (senior) with his brother had travelled to Russia before the First World War to sell horses to the Czar for his Imperial Cavalry. However, family fortunes changed dramatically in July 1921 when the Laverty brothers entered into an agreement with John Panagolopolous and Co of Athens who were contractors to the Greek Government. The agreement was to supply 3000 horses for the Greek Army. Two lots were shipped and paid for but the final lot was held up because of a disagreement between the contractor and the Greek Government. This resulted in the Laverty family having to pay all their creditors without receiving payment themselves. Despite long legal battles the case was never resolved and the Laverty family faced severe financial difficulties for the following thirty years.
29/02/2020 Robert Anthony Laverty was born on 2 January 1924 in Moy. Co. Tyrone. He was the fifth of eight children
29/02/2020 Robert Anthony Laverty was the son of Robert and Sarah Laverty.
29/02/2020 After a year with 35 Squadron Robert was transferred to 1652 Unit (Marston Moor) on 31st December 1941.
29/02/2020 Flying Officer Harry Keith POLLOCK (J/7476)
29/02/2020 Sergeant Robert Laverty is also commemorated on the family headstone in Moy Roman Catholic Graveyard.
29/02/2020 Sergeant Robert Laverty is commemorated locally on Moy War Memorial.
29/02/2020 Sergeant Robert Laverty and his crew members are also remembered on the 202 Squadron Roll of Honour Board in Gibraltar Anglican Cathedral.
29/02/2020 Sergeant Robert Laverty has no known grave and is commemorated on the Malta Memorial.
29/02/2020 At 0850 approximately, the Catalina approached the convoy. At 0910 when the first of 2 ships (SS Grange Park and SS Prins Harold) were hit by torpedoes from a U-boat.
29/02/2020 Sergeant John SANDERSON (1148225)
29/02/2020 Sergeant James Leo O'RORKE (819061)
29/02/2020 Flying Officer Walter Bryden O'CONNOR (66024)
29/02/2020 Flying Officer Duncan Alastair MacARTHUR (122354)
29/02/2020 Sergeant Robert LAVERTY (994040)
29/02/2020 Sergeant Albert Frederick FLETCHER (1107066)
29/02/2020 Sergeant Leslie Walter DRYWOOD (1171301)
29/02/2020 Sergeant Robert Anthony TIFFEN (1262553)
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