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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. L H Allen


Leslie Henry Allen was born in London on 5th February 1921 and educated at Tottenham Grammar School. After leaving he was a clerk in a solicitor's office. He joined the RAFVR in August 1939 as an Airman u/t Pilot and was called to full-time service on 1st September that year.

He started an elementary flying course at 1 EFTS Hatfield but failed the exams on ground subjects. He remustered as a Air Gunner on 1st June 1940 and went to 1 AAS Manby on the 22nd for a gunnery course, after which he moved to 5 OTU Aston Down on 6th July to convert to Defiants.



On 6th August 1940 Allen joined 141 Squadron at Prestwick. He served with the squadron until 5th August 1941 when he was posted to 410 (RCAF) Squadron, then forming at Drem with Defiants. Whilst with the squadron Allen went to CGS Sutton Bridge for a Gunnery Leader's course.


Above: Allen (centre)

On 5th March 1942 he joined 96 Squadron at Wrexham, again on night duties with Defiants. When the squadron converted to Beaufighters in May/June 1942, the air gunners were posted away and Allen went to 281 Squadron at Ouston, an ASR unit.

Commissioned in August 1942, Allen applied for pilot training. He was accepted and in November he went to ITW at Torquay. In April 1943 he went to EFTS at Wolverhampton and in May was posted to Canada.

Allen did his elementary training at Neepawa and in July moved to 33 SFTS Carberry, where he gained his wings on 11th November 1943.

After returning to the UK Allen served as staff pilot at navigation training schools. He was released from the RAF in February 1946, as a Flight Lieutenant.

Allen went into cinema management and retired in 1986. He died on 16th December 2005.


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