Photograph courtesy of Martin Page
Born: 1920, Ipswich.
Died: 12th February 1941; age: 20.
Residence: 38, King’s Way, Ipswich.
Employed: Messrs. Millets outfitters, of Carr Street, Ipswich.
Rank: Sergeant/Navigator; Service Number: 620630.
Regiment: Royal Air Force, 206 Squadron.
No.206 Squadron was a Coastal Command squadron, anti-shipping and anti-submarine role between 1940 and 1941.
August 1941-June 1942: Aldergrove aerodrome.
March 1940-August 1942 flying Lockheed Hudson I-V aircraft.
Relatives Notified & Address: Son of William Sawyer & Elsie Irene Sawyer, of Ipswich.
Father: William Sawyer, born August 1886. A Dock Labourer.
Mother: Elsie Irene Sawyer (nee Scarlett), born April 1892, Ipswich.
Leonard is also remembered on the war memorial at St. Augustine of Hippo Church, Ipswich.
11th/12th February 1941
Aircraft: Hudson Mk1; serial number T9346; code: VX-K. On the 11th February, three Hudson aircraft took-off from R.A.F. Bircham Newton, Norfolk for an “Emro” (Emden to Rotterdam) patrol. All three aircraft were lost over the North Sea after running out of fuel in thick fog. It is believed that Pilot Officer Miles Mason in T9350 had attempted to reach Leuchars near the north-east coast of Fife, but at 01:13 on the 12th February was instructed to abandon the aircraft in the belief it was over land. No trace of the aircraft or crew was ever found but it is believed to have crashed off the coast of Caithness. At around the same time as the crew abandoned T9350, and in the same area, Sergeant William Bracher and his crew abandoned their Hudson T9289. William Bracher’s body was recovered. No trace was found of the rest of his crew.
There is a bit more of a mystery about what happened to Leonard’s aircraft T9346, it had taken off at the same time as T9289 so should have had similar endurance. It seems that at 05:45 on the morning of the 12th February information was received that an aircraft was 20 miles off the coast of Caithness and attempting to make it to Wick. Minutes later word was received that the aircraft had come down 2 miles South East of Sarclet Head. The Wick lifeboat “City of Edinburgh” put to sea at 06:20 and at around 11:00 found and recovered the body of Sergeant Reginald Titchener which was floating near cliffs at Whaligoe. Nothing was found of Leonard and the other two crew members.
Reginald Titchener’s body was laid to rest at All Hallows Churchyard, Bisham, Lancashire.
William Bracher’s body was laid to rest at Canford Cemetery, Gloucestershire.
Leonard’s fellow crew members of T9346 – took-off 21:20.
Thomas Beckett; Sergeant; age 33; R.A.F.V.R.
Ralph Brettell Morris; Sergeant; R.A.F.V.R.
Reginald Titchener; Sergeant/Pilot; age 28; R.A.F.V.R.
Crew of Hudson Mk1; serial number T9350; code VX-J – took-off 21:03.
Miles Arthur George Mason; Pilot Officer; age 25; R.A.F.
John Ross Waterman; Pilot Officer; age 22; R.A.F.V.R.
Joseph Wallace; Sergeant; age 21; R.A.F.
Albert James Arnott; Sergeant; age 25; R.A.F.
Crew of Hudson Mk1; serial number: T9289; code VX-A – took-off 21:20.
William Alan Bracher; Sergeant/Pilot; age 20; R.A.F.V.R.
John Henry Reed; Sergeant; age 25; R.A.F.
Bertram Lawrence Alpe; Sergeant; age 27; R.A.F.
Aircraft information courtesy of John Alan.
DIED ON ACTIVE SERVICE
Ipswich Airman Who Was
Having been posted as missing since February 12th Sergeant Leonard E. Sawyer, second son of Mr. and Mrs. W. Sawyer, 38, Kings Way, Ipswich, is now reported to have died on active service. He joined the R.A.F. in September 1938, as a wireless operator, air gunner, and was for some time stationed at Felixstowe Seaplane Base, but on the outbreak of war his duties carried him to various parts of the British Isle. After being attached to a Coastal Command bomber squadron, he had made many journeys over enemy territory, and it was from one of these flights that he was posted missing.
Tributes to ability and achievements are contained in a letter from his Wing Commander “Sargeant Sawyer” he writes “had been doing magnificent work, and had the complete confidence of all pilots who had flown with him. He will be sadly missed by them all.”
Prior to his enlistment, Sergeant Sawyer was employed by Messrs. Millets outfitters, of Carr Street, Ipswich.