LEST WE FORGET

Flying Officer Ernest Thorburn LESLIE

Service No: 420393
Born: Balmain NSW, 10 October 1913
Enlisted in the RAAF: 7 November 1941
Unit: No. 502 Squadron (RAF), RAF St Davids, Dyfed
Died: Air Operations (No. 502 Squadron Halifax aircraft JP 164), off the French Coast, 30 August 1944, Aged 30 Years
Buried: Escoublac-la-Baule War Cemetery, Loire-Atlantique, France
CWGC Additional Information: Son of George Swinnerton Leslie and Jessie Dorothy Leslie; husband of Letty Leslie, of Bellevue Hill, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Temora NSW
Remembered: Panel 125, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: World War II Honour Roll, National War Memorial of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide
Remembered: Temora and District War Memorial, Temora NSW

Flying Officer Leslie is listed on the South Australian Memorial; however he has a New South Wales Service Number (420XXX) and enlisted from New South Wales.

On the night of 29/30th August 1944, Halifax JP 164 took off at 1923 hours, detailed to carry out an anti-sub U boat patrol. At 0014 hours on the 30th August a faint SOS signal was heard by RAF Station Bealieu. The call sign was partially received, the figures 59 being heard. This was the only aircraft of Headquarters No 19 Group airborne that night and the sortie had been authorised by the Group. Nothing further was heard from the aircraft and it failed to return to base. The aircraft crashed into the sea off St Nazaire, France, and all but one of the crew members was killed.

The crew members of JB 164 were:

Warrant Officer Dennis Austin Denton (650890) (RAF) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flight Lieutenant Godfrey Brian Eccles (62684) (RAF) (Pilot)
Warrant Officer J B Hill (950389) (RAF) (Wireless Air Gunner) PoW
Sergeant Kenneth Kay (1684152) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flight Lieutenant Harold Lawson (45539) (RAF) (Second Pilot)
Flying Officer Ernest Thorburn Leslie (420393) (Navigator)
Flight Lieutenant Ronald Bartle Motz (J/9878) (RCAF) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Pilot Officer Vivian Alexander Robertson (157995) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Ronald Forster Wardle (1166659) (RAFVR) (Wireless Air Gunner)

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, 166/24/528
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line