LEST WE FORGET

Flight Sergeant Leslie Neil BAIN

Service No: 408232
Born: Launceston TAS, 13 November 1922
Enlisted in the RAAF: 19 June 1941
Unit: No. 40 Squadron (RAF), Gardabia South, Libya
Died: Air Operations (No. 40 Squadron Wellington aircraft HZ146), Tunisia, 19 April 1943, Aged 20 Years
Buried: Unrecovered
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Leslie George and Isabell Kirkwood Hogarth Bain, of Launceston, Tasmania, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Launceston TAS
Remembered: Column 278, Alamein Memorial, Egypt
Remembered: Panel 118, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Wellington HZ146 of No. 40 Squadron RAF, Middle East, took off at 1746 hours on the night of 19th/20th April 1943, to attack Landing Grounds at Soliman South. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it failed to return to base in the morning. Other aircraft on the mission reported seeing two aircraft shot down in flames at 2055 and 2105 hours.

The crew members of HZ146 were:

Flight Sergeant Leslie Neil Bain (408232) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant Jack William Fenton Liley (409157) (Air Bomber) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 18 December 1945
Sergeant Michael Finbar McKeon (1236515) (RAFVR) (Pilot)
Sergeant A G Quick (1187793) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner) PoW
Sergeant Ian William Sanderson (1062060) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner)
Warrant Officer Gordon Russell Webb (401176) (Pilot)

In 1943 the Germans and the Italian Red Cross confirmed that Sergeant Webb and Flight Sergeant Bain had been killed on 19 April 1943, but no burial details were given. In a later statement by Sergeant Liley he reported “the aircraft was shot down on 19 April 1943 and he baled out. He believes that Sergeant Bain and one other were killed when the aircraft crashed 20 miles east of Tunis, but that he had no definite confirmation that Bain was killed.” In 1947, following post war enquiries and investigations, it was recorded that the graves of Sergeant Webb and Flight Sergeant Bain could not be located.

References:

Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/5/132