The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. L W Harvey
Leslie Walter Harvey was born in 1920 and joined the RAFVR about October 1938 as an Airman u/t Pilot. Called up on 1st September 1939, he completed his training at 8 EFTS and 10 FTS before going to 5 OTU Aston Down in early August 1940.
While there he crashed in Master N7781 on the 6th but was unhurt.
Harvey joined 54 Squadron at Hornchurch on 22nd August and served with them before being posted to 245 Squadron at Aldergrove on 22nd September.
Whilst with 245 he broke his leg in a motorcycle accident and did not return to flying duties until July 1941, when he was posted as an instructor to 56 OTU.
In August 1941 he was posted to 601 Squadron, operating Airacobras at Duxford. In November he was posted to 94 Squadron, operating Hurricanes in North Africa and tasked with sweeps and top cover escort to bombers.
While providing top cover to a sweep by 260 Squadron on 14th January 1942 Harvey was bounced by Me109s over Agedabia and set alight by cannon fire. He baled out with burns at 1,000 feet and was picked up by a Honey tank of the 11th Hussars.
In May 1942, now recovered, he was posted to a Aircraft Delivery Unit. He remained with this unit in North Africa and through the Italian campaign. He was commissioned from Warrant Officer in April 1944 and posted back to UK the following month. Here he was posted to 567 Squadron, an AA Co-Op unit. During July and October he received a number of postings to 695 and 595 Squadrons. In January 1945 he was posted to 290 Squadron and took command in October 1945.
Harvey was released from the RAF in 1946 as a Flight Lieutenant.
He died in November 2002.