Pilot Officer Leslie John NICHOLS

Service No: 429257
Born: Springwood NSW, 28 June 1923
Enlisted in the RAAF: 5 November 1942
Unit: No. 158 Squadron (RAF), RAF Lissett, Yorkshire
Died: Air Operations: (No. 158 Squadron Halifax aircraft NP 973), Germany, 7 February 1945, Aged 21 Years
Buried: Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of George Henry and Elsie Inez Nichols, of Artarmon, New South Wales, Australia.
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 128, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Halifax NP973 took off from RAF Lissett at 1911 hours on the night of 7 February 1945, detailed to attack both enemy concentrations of troops and transport at Goch, Germany. NP 973 reached the target area but at 2222 hours the Master Bomber cancelled the raid. Flying at around 3,500 feet, NP 973 collided head on at 2225 hours with No. 77 Squadron (RAF) Halifax aircraft MZ689 when both aircraft were approximately 20 kms south south east of Goch. Two minutes later Flying Officer Beeson ordered his crew to bale out, but only three could do so before his aircraft plunged into a forest between Lullingen and Geldern. Four of the crew were killed and three became Prisoners of War. MZ689 was flown by an all-RAF crew who were all killed.

The crew members of NP973 were:

Flying Officer John Leslie Beeson (427427) (Pilot)
Pilot Officer William Gerald Bennett (189802) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Pilot Officer Robert Edward Jones (189793) (RAFVR) (Air Bomber)
Sergeant A McQuilkin (1592283) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer) PoW
Flight Sergeant P A Murphy (1357748) (RAFVR) (Mid Gunner) PoW
Pilot Officer Leslie John Nichols (429257) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant L A E Papworth (1623439) (RAFVR) (Rear Gunner) PoW

The crew members of MZ689 were:

Sergeant Alexander Harvey Croll (157026) (RAFVR)
Sergeant Walter Forbes (1517533) (RAFVR)
Warrant Officer Charles Edward Foster (952987) (RAFVR)
Sergeant Walter Bernard Keal (1897002) (RAFVR)
Flight Sergeant Derrick William Muggeridge (1390409) (RAFVR) (Pilot)
Warrant Officer John Stewart (746477) (RAFVR)
Sergeant Malcolm Ernest Taylor (1818668) (RAFVR)
Pilot Officer Harry Wright (195518) (RAFVR)


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Chorley, W.R. Royal Air Force Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War Volume 6 Aircraft and Aircrew Losses 1945, Midland Counties Publications UK, 1998
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, 166/29/200

Book Now Book Now