Image from the Evening Star – 1st September 1943.


Born: 26th September 1910, Chatteris, Cambridgeshire.

Died: 10th August 1943; age: 32; Died of Injuries received on the 9th August – struck a propeller when abandoning aircraft at Vollmersbach, Germany.

Residence: 24, Ascot Drive, Ipswich.

Occupation: a Confidential Chief Clerk & Assistant to Plant Engineer – Cranes Ltd, Ipswich.


Received commission on the 20th July 1942 – Pilot Officer on probation.

Promoted on the 20th January 1943 – Flying Officer.


Rank: Flying Officer/Air Bomber; Service Number: 127292

Regiment: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 102 Squadron.

Aircraft: Halifax mark II JD408 


Grave Reference:


Rheinberg War Cemetery,



Relatives Notified & Address: Eldest son of Benjamin William & Ethel Eliza Bays, of Broomhill Road, Ipswich; husband of Bessie Florence Bays, of Ipswich.




1911   Victoria Street, Chatteris, Cambridgeshire.


Leslie was 6 months old and living with his parents.

Benjamin William Bays, 23, a Draughtsman – Hoisting Machine & Mining Machine – Engineering.

Ethel Eliza Bays (nee Bunn), 26, born Christchurch, Cambridgeshire.


Leslie was educated at Northgate School, Ipswich.


In 1931, Ipswich, Leslie married Bessie Florence Barker, born December 1910, Ipswich.

They had 2 children.




Leslie, a Confidential Chief Clerk & Assistant to Plant Engineer & Bessie were living at their family home at 24, Ascot Drive, Ipswich, with their two children, and Phyllis Lilian & George Alfred Wendon, a Lloyd’s Underwriter – Account’s Clerk.


Probate to Bessie Florence Bays – widow.


9th August 1943


Aircraft: Handley Page Halifax; Serial Number: JD408; Code: DY/R; Operation: Mannheim. The city was an important industrial centre for Nazi Germany.

Took-off at 22:50hrs from R.A.F. Pocklington, Yorkshire. The aircraft was badly damaged during the attack, and the crew abandoned the aircraft before it crashed in a meadow in Vollmersbach. The shooting down of JD408 was claimed by a German night fighter pilot – Oberleutnant Johannes Engelsbach.


Frederick Arthur Sherrington; Flight Sergeant/Air Gunner; age 25; R.A.F.

John Burdon; Pilot Officer/Flight Engineer; age 22; R.A.F.

(Jim) Lawrence James Pestridge; Squadron Leader/Pilot; R.A.F. – PoW.

A.R. Hunter D.F.C.; Pilot Officer/Navigator; R.C.A.F. – PoW.

K.P. Walker; Flight Sergeant/Wireless Operator; R.A.F. – PoW.

L.G. Dunn; Sergeant/Air Gunner; R.A.F.V.R. – PoW.


John Burdon was fatally injured, his body was found a day later not far from the wreckage of JD408.


Jim Pestridge bailed out of the aircraft and came down near Nahbollenbach. He was  later captured at Birkenfeld railway station, on the Nahe Valley Railway.


Photograph courtesy of Klaus Zimmer: http://www.flugzeugabstuerze-saarland.de/html/startseite.html


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