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The Airmen's Stories - P/O L C Murch


Leonard Charles Murch of Plymstock, Devon was born on 19th February 1921, the son of Charles Thomas Murch, a veterinary surgeon, and Ethel Esther Murch.

He was educated at Plymouth College and joined the RAF on a short service commission in February 1939.

After completing his basic flying at 11 E&RFTS Perth, Murch went on to 2 FTS Brize Norton on the 29th. With the course completed, Murch joined the newly-reformed 253 Squadron at Manston on 6th November 1939.



He went to France as a member of 'A' Flight when it was detached to Poix on 16th May 1940. The flight had heavy losses and was withdrawn on the 21st.

On 23rd May Murch's Hurricane was attacked by Me109s of 1./JG51 over Bethune while escorting Blenheims. He was able to get back to Hawkinge and force-land there. He was unhurt and the aircraft was repairable. The whole of 253 then went to Kirton-in-Lindsey to reform.

The squadron went south again to Kenley on 29th August. During a squadron sortie on 9th September 1940 Murch crashed into a wood at Nonnington in Hurricane P3610 but escaped unhurt. He claimed a He111 destroyed on the 7th and shared in the destruction of a Do17 on 6th October.

He was shot down in combat over Tunbridge Wells on 11th October, baled out of Hurricane V6570, injured, and was admitted to the Kent and Sussex Hospital there with a broken arm.

In early July 1941 Murch joined 185 Squadron in Malta. He went to the Middle East in 1942 and in 1943 was serving with 680 Squadron, a photographic-reconnaissance unit.

Murch died on 16th September 1943 in the RAF Hospital, Benghazi, after contracting poliomyelitis. He is buried in Benghazi War Cemetery, Libya.






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