In his piece on ‘The Riddle of the Mystery Fiat’, Bill Boddy reports that he has been unable to tie up his two references to LP Openshaw. I offer fairly conclusive evidence that they refer to the same man.
Lawrence Pratt Openshaw was born in 1892 and joined the Royal Naval Air Service in November 1914. He began flying training at Eastbourne, as a Flight Sub Lieutenant, RNAS, in December 1914, eventually taking his RAeC ticket in a Bristol at Hendon in March 1915. In December 1917, Openshaw was promoted to Squad= Commander, Royal Naval Air Service, which was converted to Major, RAF, in 1918.
Bill Boddy has more detail than I have available on Openshaw after his demobilisation, but he attended the Beardmore Flying School at Renfrew in 1924 to re-qualify as a pilot. He joined Westland as test pilot shortly afterwards, and later married Alice Bruce, daughter of Westland’s MD, Robert Bruce.
The fatal crash at Boumemouth was on June 6, 1927. Officialdom recorded his death had not occurred on RAF duties, presumably so the public purse was protected from any death benefit claims.
I am, Yours etc, Graham Mottram, Director, Fleet Air Arm Museum