Wireless Operator/Air Gunner, 207 Squadron
Service number 1190732
Died 14 January 1942
Buried Failsworth Jewish Cemetery
Leonard was born on 14 October 1917 in Salford, Manchester to Myer and Lydia née Sunlight. Leonard’s father Myer was born in Limerick and married Lydia Sunlight in Salford in 1915. They had three sons, Leonard, Ronald and Harold. Lydia’s family were from Belarus and on arrival in Manchester in 1890 they changed their surname from Schimschlavitch. Her brother Joseph became a prolific architect, designing Sunlight House on Quay Street and becoming one of the city’s wealthiest citizens.
In 1939 Leonard was living at 323 Watford Way, Hendon with the Sunlight family and later that year on 17 October he married Joan Chambers in Epsom, Surrey. Their son Clement was born the following year. Six months after Leonard was killed his wife Joan and son Clement left for South Africa on board the S.S. Gloucester Castle. On the 15 July 1942 the ship was shelled. Joan who was twenty one and Clement who was aged two were among the 93 that were killed.
Leonard was the wireless operator on Manchester L7523 which departed RAF Bottesford at 17.35 on a night operation to Hamburg. They were to raid the dockyards and the nearby Blohm and Voss aircraft factory. The aircraft was witnessed returning at 20.45 by a resident of Holmpton on the Yorkshire coast. A loud popping sound was heard and the plane was seen passing low to the south, with flames coming from the rear. Seconds later the plane hit the ground and there was a flash and explosion. The cause of the crash is unknown and all crew were killed.
Obs, Eric Ronald Harper, 925454
A/G, John Thomas Howe, 1194389
2nd Pilot, Frederick Edward Thomas, 1111152
A/G, Maurice Robert Walker, 641700
Pilot, Basil Courtney Wescombe, 523056
W/Op, Claude Raymond Westbury, 961733