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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. A C Leigh


Arthur Charles Leigh was born in London on 15th October 1919. He was working as an assistant in a clothing shop in Cambridge when he joined the RAFVR in June 1939 as an Airman u/t Pilot. He did his weekend flying at 22 E&RFTS Cambridge.

Called up at the outbreak of war, he went to No. 1 ITW Cambridge. In January 1940 he returned to 22 EFTS for training. In May Leigh was posted to 15 FTS Middle Wallop for No. 9 Course, which ran from 25th May to 2nd September 1940. He flew Masters and Havards at Chipping Norton as part of the course.


Leigh was posted to 7 OTU Hawarden on 31st August 1940 and after converting to Spitfires joined 64 Squadron at Leconfield. He flew his first operational sortie on 29th September.

He moved to 72 Squadron at Biggin Hill on 11th October and then to 611 Squadron at Acklington on 8th November 1940. He shared in the destruction of a Do17 on 21st December.

Leigh shared in probably destroying a Me109 on 28th May 1941, destroyed a Me109 and probably another on 18th June, got a probable Me109 on the 22nd, probably destroyed another and damaged a second on 4th July, probably destroyed another on the 23rd and destroyed two more on 19th August and 4th September.

He was awarded the DFM (gazetted 9th September 1941).

Leigh had by then completed fifty sweeps over France. He was commissioned in early October and on the 21st he was posted to CFS Upavon for an instructors course.

Leigh went to 8 FTS Montrose in December 1941 to instruct on Masters. He moved to 17 (P) AFU Watton in February 1942 and then to 56 OTU Tealing in February 1943.

In the same month he married Joan Irene Townsend in St. Neots.

Leigh was posted to Gibraltar in April 1943, from where he ferried Hurricanes to Cairo. In early August he returned to the UK and joined 56 Squadron at Manston on the 6th.

He was shot down on 9th September in Typhoon 1b JP595, hit by flak over St. Omer. Leigh baled out into the Channel and was picked up by an ASR launch.

In late 1943 he was posted to 129 Squadron at Hornchurch and awarded the DFC (gazetted 19th September 1944). On completing his second tour in December, Leigh went on a gunnery course to Catfoss and afterwards became an instructor.

In December 1945 Leigh was released from the RAF.

He later started a successful architectural hardware business in Norwich.

Leigh died on 3rd July 2004.

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