Forgotten RCAF 404 Squadron Airmen – Flight Sergeant G.A. Crow and Flight Sergeant W.E. Leake

Hans Sanders wrote me.

Hi, what a wonderful blog you have here on Squadron 404. I have more detail on the actions that took place on the 13th August 1944 concerning the Buffalo LZ297 crew:

Bristol Beaufighter, LZ295, August 13, 1944
Pilot: Flt. Sgt. G.A. Crow, 1320524, RAFVR, Unknown Hometown
Navigator: Flt. Sgt. W.E. Leake, 1602731, RAFVR, Southall, Middlesex, United Kingdom

Aircraft was on a mission to attack enemy ships in the mouth of the Gironde, a major waterway in southwest France. LZ295 was shot down by flak in the Gironde Estuary. Flt. Sgt. Leake’s body was recovered and buried, Flt. Sgt. Crow is listed as “Missing in Action”

Source: https://wartimes.ca/forums/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=588&p=1509&hilit=leake#p1509

Bristol Beaufighter TF.Mk X
Owner/operator: 404 (Buffalo) Sqn RCAF
Registration: LZ295
MSN:
Fatalities: Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities: 0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location: Mouth of the Gironde – France
Phase: Combat
Nature: Military
Departure airport: RAF Dyce, Aberdeen
Destination airport:

Narrative:
Aircraft was on a mission to attack enemy ships in the mouth of the Gironde, a major waterway in southwest France. LZ295 was shot down by flak in the Gironde Estuary

Crew:
Pilot: Flt. Sgt. G.A. Crow, 1320524, RAFVR – killed
Navigator: Flt. Sgt. W.E. Leake, 1602731, RAFVR – killed

Source: https://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/231465

I am related to William Eric Leake. I have a good photo of him in his flying uniform. (see it here: https://www.ancientfaces.com/person/william-eric-leake-birth-1914-death-1944/164403059)

Leake

I also found some French records relating to the discovery of his body.

The translation is as follows:
Place: Le Bois-Plage-en-ré
Type: Deceased
Date: 23/8/1944
Number/Source: Mairie du Bois-Plage-en-ré – Report by Jean-Noel Savignac
1944/civil status death certificate No. 14
Last Name: ERIC (Leake)
First Name: Guillaume (William Eric)
Place of Birth: Sothall, Middlesex, Great Britain
Date of Baptism: 18/07/1944
Gender: M
Age: 30 years

Note: On the 23rd of August, Nineteen hundred and forty-four, thirteen o’clock we observed the death, apparently going back several months, of a male individual, who is wearing a dark blue gray jacket with the insignia of the Royal Air Force and a gilded metal badge on the right arm, ID No. 491303 with the following inscription: F/S Leake – 235 – 9/6/44 – alert: slight – blue eyes – bay hair – birth 18-7-/1914 – RAF N0. 1602731. F/S – father Leake – name Guillaume Eric.

The body was found at the place called “La Fontaine”. On the 24th day of August, nineteen hundred and forty-four, ten o’clock, on the declaration of Adrien Favreau, fifty nine year old, keeper of the Bois, who had read the book, signed with us Gaston David, Mayor of Le Bois-Plage-en-Ré – F/Sgt William Eric LEAKE, Navigator RAF VR, deceased and buried in the Bois-Plage-en-Ré – Ile de-Ré communal cemetery (Le Bois-Plage-en-Ré, Charente-Maritime 17), serial number 1602731 – This English aviator was a navigator on a Bristol Beaufighter of the 404 Squadron RCAF on a German ships attack mission, shot down by the Flack at the mouth of the Gironde, near Royan. The plane had taken off from Davidstow Moor, Cornwall UK.
Occupation: British Aviator
Husband Name: LEAKE
Husband First Name: Bessie Olive
Father’s Last Name: LEAKE
Father’s First Name: Harold
Mother’s Last Name: LEAKE
Mother’s First Name: Alice

I will let you decide if you want to include any or all this information.

Kind Regards,
Hans Sanders, Adelaide, Australia