Visit to 1104 (Pendle) Squadron by Mrs Win Hutchings , Niece of first Officer Commanding of 1104 (Pendle) Squadron, Flight Lieutenant Harry Laycock
1104 (Pendle) Squadron were proud to receive Mrs Win Hutchings, nee Laycock, the niece of our first Officer Commanding. She was accompanied by her daughter Jackie Grey and another great niece Monica Sutcliffe, who lives in Colne. Mrs Hutchings was born in Brierfield and lived in Trawden for 16 years. She and her daughter now live in Hampshire and were researching their family history and visiting relatives in the area.
During the visit our guests were given a tour of the Squadron and a briefing on the activities currently carried out by the Cadets on the Squadron. Many of the subjects taught today are similar to those that were taught back in 1941 when the Squadron was formed. Our visitors were particularly impressed with the The Laycock Memorial Trophy which is presented annually to the Best Overall Cadet.
The Laycock Trophy
“We were delighted to be able to visit the Squadron and were impressed by the young cadets and their officers who made us very welcome,” said Jackie Grey. “Uncle Harry was not only a distinguished pilot but also a humble and modest man who rarely spoke about his dangerous assignments.
“We are immensely proud of him and were thrilled to discover the trophy named in his honour, as was his surviving son (also Harry) who followed him into a flying career and now lives in the USA.”
Cadets were then given a short talk on Flt Lt Laycock’s career, and shown letters written by him during his training in the Royal Flying Corps as well as a copy of his Service record. A resume of his career is as follows:
Harry Laycock was born in Trawden in 1896 and joined the 13th East Lancashire Regiment, rising to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant. In 1917 he transferred to the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) as a Reconnaissance pilot. This involved flying at very low level over the German lines to induce the Germans to reveal their positions by firing at the aircraft allowing Allied Gunners to adjust their sights. In one month Harry was shot down 17 times and lived to tell the tale. In 1918 the RFC became the Royal Air Force from which he retired in 1924.
In 1926 he was called up again as a Reservist and in 1941 when the Air Training Corps was formed he was appointed as the first Officer Commanding 1104 Nelson Squadron. He retained this position until 1957 when he died at the age of 61. He is buried in the Inghamite Cemetery in Wheatley Lane, Fence.
Mrs Hutchings followed in her uncle’s footsteps by joining the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) during World War 2 as a Radar Operator.
The evening concluded with a photograph of Mrs Hutchings and family holding the Trophy accompanied by Cadets and Staff from the Squadron.
Mrs Hutchings, Family and Cadets with The Laycock Trophy