F/L Nelson completed his basic flying training at No. 14 S.F.T.S Cranfield between the 6th August and the 6th December 1940, flying Magisters and Oxfords. Then he was sent to Cape Province in South Africa and was based at No. 61 Air School at George flying Ansons from the 4th February to the 26th March 1941. He completed his final training with No 1 OTU while at Silloth Airfield from 17th June 1941 until the 9th August 1941 at which point he joined 206 Squadron.
His story is drawn from a website entitled 2016 Squadron Coastal Command. Pilots: Part 1. Extract downloaded 27 February 2016.
“P5155 ‘J’ was a Hudson that Lawrence Nelson had been piloting during his time at No. 1 OTU in Silloth before joining 206 Squadron, he was there at the same time as Ken [F/L Kenneth Bass]. On the 1st August 1941 he had been on an night navigation exercise from Silloth via the Mull of Kintyre and Chicken Rock. When landing back at Silloth the Hudson ran off the edge of the runway and the port undercarriage leg collapsed resulting in minor damage and no injuries. His logbook was signed off by Wing Commander R.A.B Stone “Accident due to inexperience”. Lawrence had spoken to Simon [Simon Nelson, Lawrence’s son] about it explaining that there were green lights on the dashboard that showed the wheels were down, they were really bright especially at night so it was common practice to place a cloth over them to avoid being blinded. On this occasion the cloth fell away blinding him at a crucial moment of the landing phase. To top things off when the Ground Crew were recovering the Hudson they somehow managed to set fire to it (possibly a discarded fag) and the aircraft was completely burnt out.
“P5155 Swung on landing, u/c collapsed, Silloth, 2.8.41”
Ken’s logbook has a record of him flying this Hudson as 2nd Pilot on the 28th July 1941 Turret Firing (extract above). This was just 5 days before the accident!”