LEST WE FORGET

Pilot Officer Leslie William SANDERS

From Australia serving in the Royal New Zealand Air Force

Service No: 3895 (RNZAF)
Born: Date, Location unavailable
Enlisted in the RNZAF: Date unavailable
Unit: No. 217 Squadron (RAF)
Died: Aircraft Accident: (No. 210 Squadron Hudson aircraft FH430), Sri Lanka, 30 April 1943, Aged 26 Years
Buried: Colombo (Kanatte) General Cemetery, Sri Lanka
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Leslie and Mary Veronica Sanders, of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia; husband of Joyce Sanders, of Rochdale, Sydney
Roll of Honour: Unknown

At 0555 hours on 30 April 1943 Hudson FH430 took off from RAF Vavunia detailed to carry out an anti-submarine north east detector patrols B and C. On return from the patrol the Pilot was ordered to carry out an anti-aircraft gun cooperation exercise. The pilot dived down to the runway and flew from one end to the other about 5 feet off the ground. He then pulled up sharply and climbed to approximately 3,000 feet. From approximately 2,500 feet he apparently sighted a gun -post position as a target and dived straight on the gun position at about a 30 degree angle of dive. He failed to pull out at a reasonable height, and it was not until he was about 100 feet from the ground that any apparent effort was made to pull out. Owing to the high speed the aircraft had gathered in the dive and to the terrific strain imposed on pulling out, the wings of the aircraft pulled back and the fuselage continued on to crash into trees about 50 yards from the runway at RAF Vavunia. The aircraft crashed at 1145 hours and all the crew members were killed.

The crew members of FH430 were:

Flight Sergeant Peter William Alexander Armstrong (403488) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Robert Patrick Lansdale (951026) (RAFVR) (Navigator Bomb Aimer)
Pilot Officer Hamilton Lewis Maddison (404702) (Second Pilot)
Flight Sergeant James Laurence McDonald (412892) (RNZAF) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Pilot Officer Leslie William Sanders (3895) (RNZAF) (Pilot)

References:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Nesbit, Roy Conyers An Expendable Squadron: the Story of 217 Squadron, Coastal Command 1939-1945, Pen & Sword Books, South Yorkshire UK 2014