Flight Lieutenant Leigh Grant VIAL

Service No: 253939
Born: 28 February 1909, Location unavailable
Enlisted in the RAAF: Date unavailable
Unit: RAAF Headquarters, Melbourne VIC
Awarded the United States Distinguished Service Cross (DSC)
Died: Air Operations: (90th Bombardment Group USAAF Liberator aircraft 42-40352), New Guinea, 30 April 1943, Aged 34 Years
Buried: Lae War Cemetery, Papua New Guinea
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Stanley Browning Vial and Mary Vial; husband of Marjorie Kathleen Vial, of East St. Kilda, Victoria
Roll of Honour: Unknown
Remembered: Panel 97, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT

Flight Lieutenant Vial was an officer of the New Guinea Public Service serving in the RAAF. Cousin of Sergeant David Beaufort Grout (18590).

Flight Lieutenant Vial (Administrative and Special Duties) was the Liaison Officer at the Air Force Headquarters Far East Office. On 30 April 1943, he was a member of the crew of a USAAF Liberator B24D of the 321st Bomber Squadron, 90th Bomb Group, engaged in a general reconnaissance and the nature of his duty was the dropping of propaganda pamphlets and food supply to Spotters. The aircraft failed to return from the mission and the wreck of the aircraft was later found in the vicinity of Bena Bena, New Guinea, and all on board had been killed. The crew consisted of eleven USAAF members and one RAAF member.

The crew members of 42-40352 were:

Technical Sergeant Clarence W Boyer (19063174)
Second Lieutenant Eugene B Brown Jr (O-728334)
First Lieutenant Jindrich L Chovanec (O-437926) (USAAF)
Corporal Chester O Coggin (36054268) (USAAF)
Staff Sergeant Ernest E Hansen (36183066) (USAAF)
Second Lieutenant Henry C Hansen (O-663261) (USAAF)
Technical Sergeant William C Lowther (15073206) (USAAF)
Staff Sergeant Robert P Nix (36350512) (USAAF)
Staff Sergeant Robert A Ratliff (17033833) (USAAF)
Staff Sergeant hency C Simons (34266381) (USAAF)
Second Lieutenant Edwin B Smith (O-730979) (USAAF)
Flight Lieutenant Leigh Grant Vial (253939) (Supernumerary)


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 Veterans’ Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/42/17


Lindsay, Patrick, The Coastwatchers: behind enemy lines, the men who saved the Pacific, William Heinemann, 2010
RAAF Directorate of Public Relations, RAAF Saga, Australian War Memorial Canberra, 1944 – Chapter: Golden Voice

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