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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. M E Leng


Maurice Equity Leng was born on 9th February 1913 in Barnet, Hertfordshire and joined the RAFVR in September 1938 as an Airman u/t Pilot. Leng did his weekend flying at 21 E&RFTS Stapleford Tawney (below).



Called to full-time service after the outbreak of war, he was posted to 12 FTS Grantham in October 1939 to complete his training.

In January 1940 Leng went to 4 BGS West Freugh as a staff pilot. He joined 4 (Continental) Ferry Unit at Cardiff in May and on the 29th he was posted to 73 Squadron in France where he flew several sorties. The squadron was withdrawn to Church Fenton in mid-June 1940.



On 25th August Leng was shot down by British anti-aircraft defences whilst on a night patrol and baled out, unhurt. His Hurricane, P3758, crashed west of Beverley, Yorkshire.

On 23rd September he was shot down by Me109s over Sheppey and baled out. He was injured in a heavy landing and admitted to Chatham Hospital. His Hurricane, P8812, crashed at Ludgate, Lynstead, near Rodmersham.

73 Squadron was posted to the Middle East in November. It embarked on HMS Furious on the 10th and flew off to Takoradi on the 29th. It then flew in easy stages to Heliopolis, via Lagos, Accra, Kano, Maidugari, Khartoum, Wadi Haifa and Abu Sueir. The pilots were attached to 274 Squadron in the Western Desert in December. The squadron began to operate on its own account in early January 1941.

Leng was posted back to Takoradi on 9th April 1941 to the Ferry Pool. He was commissioned later in the month and on 6th October 1941 went to 71 OTU Gordons Tree, Sudan, as an instructor. Two weeks later he joined 335 Squadron, a Greek fighter unit at Aqir, Palestine. Leng went to the RHAF Training Flight, also at Aqir, on 17th January 1942. He returned to Egypt in July 1942 and was posted to 2 PRU Heliopolis on 2nd August.

Leng was shot down on 30th September 1942 in Spitfire BR411 near Tympaki, Crete on a shipping reconnaisance and captured.

He was held in captivity at Stalag Luft III, Sagan from 20th October 1942 until 2nd May 1945. He was released from the RAF in March 1946 and joined the RAFVR in September 1947.

Leng retired in September 1962 as a Flight Lieutenant.


Above: being interviewed in 1990.


He died in December 1995 in Plymouth.


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