Memorial to Flt Lt Raw

 

Personnel from 54(R) Sqn recently visited Vortum Mullem, Holland providing an Honour Guard for the unveiling of a memorial to 119259 Flt Lt Peter Raw, DFC, who crashed his Typhoon (MN 247) there on 24 Mar 44. Flt Lt Raw was one of four brothers – all of whom joined the RAF and were subsequently highly decorated for their courage and performance in the air. Sadly, including Peter, three of the brothers were killed in RAF service; the surviving brother being too young to fly during WWII. Following extensive research by local residents and with the expert help of researchers “Plane Hunters” the remains of Flt Lt Peter Raw’s aircraft were located. The memorial - a mounted Typhoon - will now be placed close to the crash site on the River Maas.

headstone

The unveiling ceremony was attended by almost 200 people including veterans, the local community and 20 members of Flt Lt Raw’s family including his daughter Maureen who was only a baby when her father was killed. 54 (R) Sqn personnel attending the event said: It was an honour to provide a guard at the ceremony. The Plane Hunters and the local community have been meticulous in their research. Thanks to their efforts this memorial will ensure the sacrifices and lessons from the Second World War are not forgotten.

Flt Lt Raw was described by his Senior Commanders as “a pilot of exceptional courage and ability, always eager to hunt and engage the enemy displaying the offensive spirit to a very marked degree.” “He takes advantage of every opportunity to seek out and attack the enemy.” For these reasons he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Flt Lt Raw DFC is buried at the Eindhoven (Woensel) General Cemetery along with almost 700 other allied casualties.

Background:

On 21 Mar 1944 Flt Lt Peter Edward ‘Slosher’ Raw, DFC, of No. 183 Sqn took off from RAF Manston in a Typhoon 1b heading for a fighter sweep over Holland. Raw’s section were tasked with engaging enemy aircraft or ground targets of opportunity in occupied Europe. They were strafing barges on the river Maas close when Raw’s aircraft struck the mast of one of the barges and crashed a few hundred meters from the river. The squadron F541 also reports that his aircraft was hit by flak.

Peter was one of four brothers all of whom served with the Royal Air Force. Plt Off John Frederick Raw was killed in Apr 1941 and Sqn Ldr Anthony William Raw, DFC, AFC, was killed with a Bomber Command Pathfinder unit in Sept 1944. The final brother, Michael Raw, received the AFC in 1955. Additionally, their father served as a Royal Navy Commander in World War 1 receiving the Distinguished Service Cross in 1917.

In 2016 the Planehunters recovery team group along with residents of Boxmeer began a project to locate all of the crash sites in the local area. A total of 25 possible crash sites were identified. After a search of the area parts of Raw’s Typhoon were discovered and the crash site and identity of the aircraft were confirmed. It was decided that a memorial should be placed to mark the crash site.

At the end of World War 2 with the draw down from war-time strength the RAF started to disband and renumber squadrons. Higher numbered squadrons were generally replaced with the lower, and so more senior, squadron numbers with the exception of units such as 617 Sqn. After fighting over Dunkirk, through the battle of Britain and the first fighter sweeps over mainland Europe No. 54 Sqn ended the war in Australia helping to defend Darwin against the threat of Japanese air attack and supporting offensive operations. The squadron was disbanded in 1945 and took over the 183 Sqn number plate back in Britain. As such 54 (R) Sqn is the only currently serving connection to either 183 Sqn or Flt Lt Raw.