Old 01-31-2013, 11:04 AM   #1
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Default F/O John Edward LEACH, 410 Squadron, RCAF

My great uncle, John Edward Leach, was shot down and killed on April 10, 1943 flying his de Havilland Mosquito. The town of Leeuwarden, Netherlands are unveiling a monument in his honour on April 30 and have asked us to provide as much info as possible on him. I'm new to this and would appreciate any help in how I go about finding out about his squadron, mission or anything else.
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Old 01-31-2013, 01:29 PM   #2
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Welcome to the CAW website.

We'll post up as much as we can find

When our resident RCAF expert Ludford comes on line, I'll expect he'll be able to post up more info than I can find


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Old 01-31-2013, 01:38 PM   #3
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In memory of
Flying Officer
who died on April 10, 1943
Military Service:

Service Number: J/15578
Age: 26
Force: Air Force
Unit: Royal Canadian Air Force
Division: 410 Sqdn.

Additional Information:

Son of Thomas A. and Beatrice M. Leach, of Toronto, Ontario.


LAC records. You can order his military records from this web page


His headstone


His page in Canada's Books of Remembrance


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Old 01-31-2013, 01:47 PM   #4
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Info on 410 squadron

No.410 'Cougar' Squadron was a RCAF night fighter squadron that was formed at Ayr on 30 June 1941, to defend central Scotland and the north east of England against German raiders. It remained in the north for the next two years, upgrading to the Bristol Beaufighter and then the de Havilland Mosquito during that period.

In February 1943, with the threat of German raids diminishing, the squadron moved south to Lincolnshire, from where it began to carry out intruder missions of France and the Low Countries. After a spell of defensive work from September 1943, the squadron moved to the south-west, operating over the Normandy beaches. In September 1944 No.410 Squadron moved to France, and spent the rest of the war providing night fighter defences over the advancing Allied armies.

June 1941-June 1942: Boulton Paul Defiant I
April 1942-January 1943: Bristol Beaufighter IIF
November 1942-December 1943: de Havilland Mosquito NF.Mk II
December 1943-August 1944: de Havilland Mosquito NF.Mk XIII
August 1944-June 1945: de Havilland Mosquito NF.Mk 30

30 June-6 August 1941: Ayr
5 August-2 September 1941: Detachment to Acklington
6 August 1941-16 June 1942: Drem
2 September 1941-7 April 1942: Detachment to Ouston
27 October 1941-8 January 1942: Detachment to Dyce
16 June-1 September 1942: Ayr
1 September-20 October 1942: Scorton
20 October 1942-22 February 1943: Acklington
22 February-22 October 1943: Coleby Grange
22 October-8 November 1943: West Malling
8 November-29 December 1943: Hunsdon
29 December 1943-28 April 1944: Castle Camps
28 April-18 June 1944: Hunsdon
18 June-28 July 1944: Zeals
28 July-9 September 1944: Colerne
9-22 September 1944: Hunsdon
22 September-3 November 1944: B.48 Amiens-Glisy
3 November 1944-6 January 1945: B.51 Lille-Vendeville
6 January-5 April 1945: B.48 Amiens-Glisy
5 APril-9 June 1945: B.88 Gilze-Rijen

Squadron Codes: RA

1941-1943: Defensive night fighter
1943-1944: Intruder duties
1944-1945: Defensive night fighter over Allied armies


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Old 01-31-2013, 02:10 PM   #5
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The next few day rangers were less fortunate and indicated the great danger attending these daylight penetrations into enemy territory. On 6 April, F/L C.D. McCloskey and P/O J.G. Sullivan did not return from a sortie. The German radio announced that a British aircraft had been shot down over north-west Germany and it was later learned that the two men were prisoners of war. Mac McCloskey, one of the original members of No.410, had just that day been informed of his promotion to Flight Lieutenant as deputy commander of "A" Flight. Four days later F/Os J.E. Leach and R.M. Bull were lost over Friesland and were presumed killed in action.


Note: day and night "rangers" (low flying offensive sorties) into enemy-held territory.

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Old 01-31-2013, 02:17 PM   #6
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Here is a picture of his crew mate that was also killed with him

Roland Montgomery Bull

Flying Officer (observer) with #410 Cougar Squadron. Killed in action April 10, 1943, at the age of 24. Roland is buried in the General Cemetery at Ijlst, Friesland, Holland. He is commemorated on the Oakville Trafalgar High School 1939-1945 Honour Roll.
Date of Original:
c. 1939-1943
Date Of Event:
Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
Oakville Museum
Email: oplreference@oakville.ca
WWW address: http://www.oakvillemuseum.com/
Agency street/mail address: Oakville Museum, 8 Navy Street, Oakville, ON L6J 2Y5
General inquiries: 905-338-4400


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Old 01-31-2013, 03:19 PM   #7
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Aircraft info

DZ743 NFII 410 Missing from day intruder 10.4.43

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Old 01-31-2013, 03:27 PM   #8
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Date: 10-APR-1943

Time: 10:30

Type: de Havilland Mosquito NF.Mk.II

Operator: 410 (Cougar) Sqn RCAF

Registration: DZ743

C/n / msn:


Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2

Other fatalities: 0

Airplane damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)

Location: Ijlst, 22 km NW of Heerenveen - Netherlands

Phase: En route

Nature: Military

Departure airport: RAF Coleby Grange, Lincolnshire

Destination airport:


Missing from day intruder mission.On 10 April 1943 the RCAF Mosquito night fighter DZ 743, belonging to the 410th Squadron, was patrolling the south-west of Friesland. The pilot, Flying Officer J.E. Leach and the navigator, Flying Officer R.M. Bull, spotted a train near the railway station of IJlst and opened fire. The enemy returned fire. The Mosquito turned sharply and flew from Oosthem toward IJlst at a low altitude. While they were firing, the right wingtip of their aircraft touched a treetop, careered to the right and headed for the town in flames. The pilot turned his airplane to the left, hit the trees in the Stadslaan and crashed his airplane. Both members of the crew were killed.

F/O (J/15578) John Edward LEACH (pilot) RCAF - killed
F/O (J/8604) Roland Montgomery BOLL (obs) RCAF - killed


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Old 01-31-2013, 03:30 PM   #9
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Additional aircraft info:


de Havilland Mosquito


With No. 410 (NF) Squadron, RCAF. Lost on Day Ranger mission over Friesland on 10 April 1943. F/O J.E. Leach and F/O R.M. Bull missing.




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Old 01-31-2013, 05:51 PM   #10
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Flying Officer
John Edward Leach

1917 - 10 April 1943

Toronto, Ontario - IJlst

John Edward Leach was born in 1917 and was from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He was the son of Son of Son of Thomas A. and Beatrice M. Leach. He was married to J.E. Leach.

He became a pilot with 410 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force. 410 Squadron operated Mosquito fighter/bombers and flew out of Coleby Grange.

On 10 April 1943, F/O Leach and his Navigator, P/O Roland Bull, were tasked to fly a "Ranger" mission over North West Germany. On the way to their operational area, they observed a train in the station of the town of IJlst.

Intend on attacking the train, F/O Leach flew low-level over the station several times, indicating to the people on the platforms that they were about to attack and give them opportunity to seek cover.

Passing over the station, the Mosquito hit a tree and crashed, killing both of the crew.

Dirk Marius, at the time an 11-year old boy, witnessed the crash: "On 16 April 1944 I was 11 years old and playing with friends outside our house in a small town called Sneek in the province of Friesland (Holland). Our house was just opposite the railway station and we were often playing at the station, as my father was the stationmaster.

Suddenly, an aero plane came over very low. We could clearly see the markings, and someone shouted: 'Engels vliegtuig!' (English plane). Of course, we all looked up, and saw the plane turning around and flying back in the direction it had come from, still flying very low.

Immediately thereafter we could hear heavy gunfire, and we realized that it was the plane firing at something, very close by. Almost straight after hearing the gunfire, we heard an enormous explosion and saw large flames and smoke rising up behind the railway yard, about three or four kilometers away.

We all ran across the yard to have a better look, and my father shouted to me that the plane had crashed. German soldiers stationed at and near the station were already making plans to rush to their army trucks to check it out, but they had to go via the main road. A friend and I, anxious to look for souvenirs (especially perspex to make rings), did not hesitate for a minute - and off we went along the railway line, running like hares.

We knew that this was an enormous shortcut to where the plane had crashed, just outside a little village called IJlst. We could now also see that there was a train stationery just outside the little station of IJlst, blowing off a lot of steam. Flames and smoke were rising into the air, indicating the place where the plane had crashed.

When we arrived at the scene there were people running around, trying to get close to the plane, but the only policeman in IJlst had also arrived and tried to keep everyone at bay. By now we could also see the German army arriving in their lorries, and we realized that they would slowly but certainly tell people to disperse.

Looking around, we saw that the trees in the area had their tops sheared off. Someone said that the plane had been shooting up the train's engine and, on turning back to have a second go, had flown into the trees. We now made our way back home, disappointed that we could not have any souvenirs, but I did ask one of the German soldiers I knew from the station if he could get me souvenir. Although he did not say yes, he winked and told me to go home.

It was a few days later, on talking to the soldiers again, that I heard what had happened. The plane had spotted the train and had warned the train crew by flying very low over the train. It then flew low over us in Sneek and turned back. By now the train crew had stopped the train (luckily a freight train) and had taken cover. The plane shot up the locomotive, and then turned to have another go when the pilot flew into the trees, causing the plane to crash. Both crewmen were killed.

Now, the story that has always remained with me was told to me by the German soldier. He said that the two crewmen were New Zealanders, and the plane's compass was pointing in a south easterly direction, the way to New Zealand. The crew's names were RM Bull and JE Leach, and they are buried in the churchyard at Ijlst. And yes, I did get a piece of perspex."(*)

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