Flight Sergeant Leslie Thomas LITTLE

Service No: 420762
Born: Forbes NSW, 14 October 1913
Enlisted in the RAAF: 9 November 1941
Unit: No. 460 Squadron, RAF Station Binbrook, Lincolnshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 460 Squadron Lancaster aircraft W4332), Netherlands, 16 June 1943, Aged 29 Years
Buried: Oostende New Communal Cemetery, Oostende, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium
CWGC Additional Information: Son of John and Elizabeth Ellen Little; husband of Alma Venetta Little, of Pymble, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Forbes NSW
Remembered: Panel 107, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Date: 16-17 June 1943
Target: Cologne
Total Force: Dispatched – 212, Attacking – 179
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 18, Attacking – 15; No. 467 Dispatched – 11, Attacking – 10
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 656
Total Aircraft Lost: 15
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 460 – 1; No. 467 – 1

The table does not include the loss of No. 460 Squadron Lancaster W5007 (Flight Sergeant Neville Oliver Boyd Flitcroft (414549) (Air Gunner)) on return to the UK.

Cologne, third largest city of Germany, had almost entirely recovered from the experimental mass raid of May 1942, when four more attacks were made to round off the Ruhr campaign.

For the first of these attacks (16-17 June 1943) towering clouds and icing conditions were prevalent. The Pathfinders were late and the sky markers were scattered over a wide area. The main force itself was disorganised by the bad flying conditions, the confused aiming points, and the presence of very determined enemy fighters; few hopes were expressed of any worthwhile result.

Extracts from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Pages 491, 492

Lancaster W4332 took off from RAF Binbrook at 2259 hours on 16th June 1943 to attack Cologne, Germany. The bomb load was 1 x 4000 lb (pound) (1,800 kg) and 4 x 500 lb (225 kg) bombs, 48 x 30 lb (14 kg) and 510 x 4 lb (2 kg) incendiaries. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it did not return to base. It was established from post war investigations that the aircraft had crashed at sea. It was shot down by a night fighter and crashed into the Oosterschelde north west of Wissekerke (Zeeland) on the island of Beveland.

The crew members of W4332 were:

Pilot Officer Edwin Francis Davey (127314) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Sergeant John Henry Emmett (1259229) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Flight Sergeant Leslie Thomas Little (420762) (Air Gunner)
Sergeant Joseph William Ousley (1358312) (RAFVR) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Frank Gale Phillips (412338) (Pilot)
Sergeant George Dennis Prince (1217983) (RAFVR) (Bomb Aimer)
Sergeant Frank Smith (1454835) (RAFVR) (Air Gunner)

No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster ED737 (Flying Officer Graham Harris Joseph (400415) (Wireless Operator Air Gunner)) on 17 June 1943.


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, 166/24/118
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line


Firkins, P. C. (Peter Charles) (441386) Strike and Return, Westward Ho Publishing City Beach WA, 1985