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Lawrence John Somers

Admitted to:

St. Omer Hospital, Boulogne, France.

Date of Injury:


D.O.B/Age when admitted:


Cause of Incident:

Enemy Action. Shot down in Spitfire by enemy aircraft over the English Channel. Bailed out.

Transferred to QVH:



Burns to face and hands.

No. of Operations at East Grinstead:



This is to certify that the patient mentioned below and whose description is stated hereon is the authorised holder of this Identity card.


Lawrence John



Service No:






Patient Unit:

No.3 PRC, RAF Bournemouth



Patient Rank:

Flt Lt



Age at Death:


Dr Rank:

Dr Unit:


On his 110th mission, Somers' group of 47 encountered 30 enemy fighters over the English Channel. His petrol tank was hit and he decided to make for his base, but was attacked by another group of fighters. Bullets ignited the petrol that had leaked out of the tank, and the plane burst into flames. Williams managed to free himself from the plane before it hit the water. He managed to release and board the rubber dinghy, but could only drift as the injuries to his hands and arms meant that he couldn't use the paddles. He was picked up by a German rescue vessel two days later.

Somers spent three weeks in the care of German doctors in St. Omer Hospital, before being transferred through 10 camps, the first four of which were hospital camps. At the second hospital, his dressings were not changed for five days when he refused to give information other than his name and number.

He was then sent to Stadtroda, in eastern Germany, where he was a walking patient and helped take care of Canadians who were wounded at Dieppe. He was among the thousands of prisoners who were forced to walk 150 miles as Russian troops came in from the East, and then back as the other Allied forces came in from the West.

In 1945, Somers was repatriated to England and sent to QVH, before returning to Canada.


PRC - Personnel Reception Centre

Further Reading:

As For the Canadians' By Rita Donovan


'Guinea Pigs on Parade', The Guinea Pig, Summer 1973, p. 30.
'Dr. Lawrence J. Somers', The Guinea Pig, July 1991, p. 9.
EGRTM2842.82 - Larry Somers standing against a brick wall.
EGRTM 2842.6 - Standing before brick wall.

East Grinstead Museum Collection:
EGRTM 2751.58 - Black and white headshot of Somers in front of a brick wall