Acting Captain Robert E V de Lautour

20 Jun 1944

  • Mentioned in Despatches medal

Acting Captain Robert Edward Vane de Lautour, son of Percival John Deck de Lautour and of Mabel Knight de Lautour (nee Gostling) and was born in Canada. He served with 22nd Independent Parachute Company after initially joining up with the Grenadier Guards.

Lt. de Lautour commanded one of the first drops by the the 22nd Independent Parachute Company on 5th June into DZ 'V'. His 'stick' included nine other parachutists (one of whom was L/Cpl Edward Glenn, who was Killed In Action on 7 June 1944).  He emplaned onboard a Albemarle of 295 Squadron at RAF Harwell at 23:30 on 5 June 1944. The stick was tasked with 'marking' the drop zone for the 1st Canadian and 9th Parachute Battalions at DZ "V", but all the radar and visual beacons were either lost or damaged. Nevertheless, they were successfully able to join up with Lieutenant-Colonel Terence Otway’s 9th Battalion, prior to the assault on the Merville Battery.
On June 19, the 22nd were around 100 yards behind the forward defensive lines of the 7th Parachute Battalion. Captain Henry 'Kim' Dodwell recalled how they

"slept until 1630 when Lt (now Capt) DeLatour [sic] led fighting patrol of 8 from 2 pl to get prisoners. 7Bn laid on smoke and covering fire, but their mortar concentration was all haywire and when Bobby got onto the enemy posn they found it stiff with Jerries, apparently forming up for an attack. However, we must have caught them with their pants down, for though there was a lot of shooting Bobby had got his prisoners, killed a few more and was on his way back before Jerry did much about it. Bobby was hit in the chest by a burst from a spandau [MG], and another bloke was caught by a 36 which Bobby had thrown and was returned before bursting. Sgt Lindores took over, with Bobby who is in a bad way (he died shortly)"

He continues on June 20, "heard Bobby DeLatour [sic] died of his wounds in the RAP. This means that in the first fortnight's fighting we have had three successive Coy comds. killed". These were Francis Lennox Boyd, Ian Tait and de Lautour himself, respectively. 

Acting Captain de Lautour died on 20 June 1944 aged 27 years old

He was awarded a posthumous Mention in Despatches on 22 March 1945, for actions in Normandy. He is now buried at Ranville War Cemetery, Normandy.

Headstone photograph taken by Harvey Grenville 2010.

Profile compiled with assistance from Phil Jennett

Additional editing by Alex Walker 28.05.2024

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Service History


Robert E V de Lautour


  • Officers of 22nd Ind Para Coy synchronise their watches in front of an Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle.

    Officers of 22nd Ind Para Coy synchronise their watches in front of an Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle.

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Latest Comments

Massimiliano Pagliaruli said:
I have seen Robert de Lautour's grave at Ranville cemetery. In the same cemetery there's also the grave of Lt. Den Brotheridge, probably the first allied soldier killed in Normandy.
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