CANN Leonard William 427436

LEST WE FORGET 

Flight Sergeant Leonard William CANN 

Service No: 427436
Born: Perth WA, 27 January 1922
Enlisted in the RAAF: 14 July 1942
Unit: No. 29 Operational Training Unit (RAF), RAF Bruntingthorpe, Leicestershire
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 29 Operational Training Unit Wellington aircraft BJ909), Leicestershire, 5 January 1945, Aged 22 Years
Buried: Oxford (Botley) Cemetery, Oxfordshire
CWGC Additional Information: Son of William Stannard Cann and Christina Jane Cann, of Rivervale, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Perth WA
Remembered: Panel 120, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA
Remembered: Honour Board, Postmaster General’s Department, GPO Forrest Chase, Perth WA

On the 5th January 1945, Wellington BJ909 took off from RAF Bruntingthorpe at 1915 hours, detailed for high level bombing practice.  On return to base the weather had deteriorated to the point where the Pilot was unable to pick up the funnel lights.  The aircraft was in circuit for approximately 30 minutes in radio contact with base, and was last heard of giving “down wind”. The approach lights were on and in correct order with visibility being 2,000 yards.  It was while trying to establish its position that the aircraft flew into the ground at 2330 hours near Kimcote, three miles east north east of Lutterworth, Leicestershire.  Five of the crew were killed and one seriously injured.

The crew members of BJ909 were:

Flight Sergeant Keith Stanley Franz Allen (431483) (Navigator)
Flight Sergeant Leonard William Cann (427436) (Air Bomber)
Sergeant Raymond John Leeson (439769) (Air Gunner) Seriously Injured, Discharged from the RAAF: 27 November 1945
Flight Sergeant Maxwell William Milne (437435) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Colin John Nolan (439781) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Douglas Irvine Savage (435180) (Pilot)

A Flying Accident report stated: “The aircraft crashed near the Lead Out lights while making its approach downwind at Bruntingthorpe, Leicestershire. The Pilot was in radio communication with control up to within a few minutes of the crash.  The port wheel indicator was showing 30 lbs per square inch but was cleared by the Pilot manipulating the rudder.  The Pilot reported the aircraft unserviceable on the radio.  From an examination of the wreckage the undercarriage was fully lowered at the time of the crash.  The Oleo struts were in crucifix frame and had been subject to very heavy “head on” force, consistent with a steep angle of approach and full power when striking the ground.  The heavy landing indicators were not compressed.  The engines sounded quite normal prior to the crash.”  It was considered that the primary cause of the accident lay with the Pilot in failing to set the QDM of the runway on his DR compass, and adopting the square circuit.

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, 166/7/787