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Sir Lawrence Arthur Pattinson

Sir Lawrence Arthur Pattinson

Find out what it was like to be a First World War pilot and have a go at building your own model aeroplane.

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Heritage Lottery Fund logoThe archive of Sir Lawrence Arthur Pattinson contains letters written by a British pilot during the First World War.

Photograph of Sir Lawrence Arthur Pattinson
A sketch drawn by Pattinson in a letter to his mother, 19 December, 1915. LAP 1-2-12, Newcastle University Special Collections GB 186

Above left: Sir Lawrence Arthur Pattinson
Above right: A sketch drawn by Pattinson in a letter to his mother, 19 December, 1915. LAP 1-2-12, Newcastle University Special Collections GB 186

Below are some suggestions as to how you can use these resources with Key Stage 3 students to explore what it was like to be a First World War pilot, to get them to think about the principles of flight and to get them designing and building their own model aeroplanes.

Teacher Resource Pack

Sir Lawrence Arthur Pattinson: The Story of a First World War pilot

Our downloadable teacher resource pack, produced as part of a project funded by the National Heritage Lottery Fund, provides a mixture of History and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) activities suitable for Key Stage 3 students.

You will also need to download the sources (extracts from Sir Lawrence’s letters) to use with the teacher resource pack.

Sources

Use the sources provided to find out what it was like to be a pilot in the First World War.

  • Source 1 - Extract from a letter from Sir Lawrence Pattinson to his mother Mary Pattinson in which he comments on seeing his first "real live Hun" and chasing an enemy plane.
  • Source 2 - Extract from a letter from Sir Lawrence Pattinson to his mother Mary Pattinson in which he discusses being on patrol and having a fight with a German plane, during which he received a small wound to his leg when his plane was shelled. He also describes the damage to his plane.
  • Source 3 - Extract from a letter from Sir Lawrence to his mother Mary Pattinson in which he remarks that the major approves of his 'gun mounting idea' and he hopes for great things to come of it.
  • Source 4 - Extract from a letter from Sir Lawrence Pattinson to his mother Mary Pattinson in which he writes about his patrol in bad weather, and the possibility of him being given a job as Flight Commander in England. He also remarks on being afraid and asks his mother to pray for him to have courage.
  • Source 5 - Extract from a letter from Sir Lawrence Pattinson to his mother Mary Pattinson in which he discusses seeing the 'fire balls' which are now being used by the enemy.
  • Source 6 - Extract from a letter from Sir Lawrence Pattinson to his mother Mary Pattinson in which he describes dealing with a seemingly broken engine.
  • Source 7 - Extract from a letter from Sir Lawrence Pattinson to his mother Mary Pattinson in which He describes his morning spent doing mixed patrol and photography, during which time his propeller broke and he was confronted by German planes known as "two tails". He remarks on firing rounds at the German planes, and they fly off in a 'most extraordinary case of German lack of enterprise'. He includes detailed drawings and annotations of the "two tail" planes.
  • Source 8 - Extract from a letter from Sir Lawrence to his mother Mary Pattinson in which he discusses flying in bad weather. 
  • Source 9 - Extract from a letter from Sir Lawrence to his mother Mary Pattinson in which he discusses an encounter he had with a sausage captive balloon.
  • Source 10 - Extract from a letter from Sir Lawrence to his mother Mary Pattinson in which he discusses enjoying piloting, and flying the 'scout'.
  • Source 11 - Extract from a letter from Sir Lawrence to his mother Mary Pattinson in which he discusses a 'street corner brawl', and describes taking a young observer along the lines only to find himself involved in a fight with four German planes. He admits he didn't manage to incapacitate any of them, but feels he has 'shown the superiority of the British pilots'.

All sources