LEST WE FORGET
Flying Officer Douglas Percy LEIGO
Service No: 401069
Born: East Melbourne VIC, 23 June 1914
Enlisted in the RAAF: 8 December 1940
Unit: No. 7 Squadron (RAF), RAF Oakington, Cambridgeshire
Died: Air Operations: Bombing Technique (No. 7 Squadron Stirling aircraft R9328), Germany, 27 July 1942, Aged 28 Years
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Robert Bell Leigo, and of Kate Mary Leigo, of Ballarat, Victoria, Australia. B.A.
Roll of Honour: Ballarat VIC
Remembered: Panel 110, Runnymede Memorial, Surrey UK
Remembered: Panel 125, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
On the night of 26 July 1942, Stirling R9328 of No. 7 Squadron took off at 2250 hours from RAF Station Oakington to bomb Hamburg. The aircraft did not return to base after the mission.
The crew members of R 9328 were:
Sergeant Ernest Edward Blythe (934081) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Gunner) PoW
Sergeant James Humphrey Caldwell (407637) (Rear Gunner)
Sergeant William Charles Percival Harfoot (1067790) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Flight Lieutenant John Norman Harris (39661) (RAF) (Pilot) PoW
Flying Officer Douglas Percy Leigo (401069) (Bomb Aimer)
Sergeant Robert Charles Stewart-Moore (405426) (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner) PoW, Discharged from the RAAF: 9 May 1946
Sergeant Alun John Roberts (533044) (RAF) (Flight Engineer) PoW
In a later statement, Flight Lieutenant Harris reported “On the night of 26 July 42 my aircraft was hit by enemy action. Sergeant Stewart-Moore informed me later that he thinks Sergeant Caldwell was probably killed in the action as he saw the rear turret which was Sergeant Caldwell’s position being badly damaged by enemy fire. The elevators of the aircraft being damaged and being at an extremely low height, the aircraft crashed into the sea and immediately sank. Unfortunately Flying Officer Leigo who was in the front turret must have been killed by the impact and Sergeant Harfoot was probably so severely injured that he could not make his escape and was drowned. The Germans informed me later that they had recovered three bodies. The survivors are quite well and including myself are Sergeant Stewart-Moore, Sergeant Roberts and Sergeant Blyth (Air Gunner).”
It was also recorded by Sergeant Stewart-Moore that after bombing the target, the aircraft went down to ground level to evade searchlights and anti-aircraft fire. It followed the course of the River Elbe, where the aircraft struck the water, bounced and then nosed in. Four crew members got into the dinghy, enemy searchlights were kept on them and they were picked up by naval patrol boats.
In 1950 following investigations in Germany by the Missing Research and Enquiry service it was recorded that the aircraft was buried in quick sands making salvage impossible, and that it was extremely unlikely that the remains of the missing three crew members could be recovered.
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, 163/42/122