In January I posted an extract from the May 1943 Operational Record Book relating to an incident on the 17th.
At the time I was struck with the poignancy of the story and the fact that it was almost buried within the records of the month. From the Roll of Honour, I discovered that Leslie was laid to rest not far from where my mother lives and I decided at the first opportunity that I would visit him. A trip down at the end of January to celebrate my mum’s 90th of birthday proved too hectic to manage a visit, but finally, on the way down to see her this last week, I stopped off to see Leslie and pay my respects.
“At 01.00 hours on the 17th. May 1943, Sergeant L.C.Wright was carrying out a cross country fight in Stirling Mk.1 BF398, when the starboard outer and port outer engines failed. The aircraft lost height and the Captain ordered the crew to bale out, this included a passenger AC1 BAILEY, R.G. Of the crew who baled out, all landed safely with the exception of Sergeant A.J.Francis, who was reported missing and found four days later. The Captain remained at the controls, as the aircraft was in the vicinity of the Town of STOKE-UPON-TRENT and it appears that rather than crash land over the town, he attempted to land in the nearest field, the aircraft crashed however, and he was killed. The MAYOR of STOKE-UPON-TRENT has been in communication with the Squadron, and expressed his admiration, shared also by the townspeople, for the gallantry displayed by Sergeant L.C. WRIGHT. “
After the original post I contacted the Mayor’s Office of Stoke-on-Trent to see if there was any record of the message or communication the Mayor of the time made to the Squadron, but after a discussion with the council archivist, it would seem that perhaps the communication was verbal via a telephone conversation. and as such, sadly, no record of his thanks exists.