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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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451 Squadron Crest
09.03.1945 No. 451 Squadron Spitfire XVI SM465 W/O. Blake

Operation: Armed Recce

Date: 09th March 1945 (Friday)

Unit: No. 451 Squadron RAAF (motto: 'Into the midst from above')

Type: Spitfire XVI

Serial: SM465

Code: NI-B

Base: RAF Swannington, Norfolk

Location: Alphen Aaan Den Rijn / Zwet, Holland

Pilot: W/O. Leslie Albert Edward Blake AUS/414752 RAAF Age 22. PoW (1)


Taking part an armed reconnaissance operation with four others from the squadron over Holland. P/O. Blake was flying as No. 2 in the formation when they started to dive bomb a target at 11:00 hrs.

As they pulled up from the bombing, the others noticed he was lagging behind. He called them up explaining his engine was packing up, blue smoke was seen to be coming from the Spitfire.

He then reported that his windscreen was covered in oil, Fl/Lt. Robert requested permission to stay with him which was granted from the Wing Commander.

Fl/Lt. Robert called Ursell for a homing and they then turned south together to approach Rotterdam. It was clear that W/O. Blake's Spitfire was not going to make allied lines as further blue smoke and intermittent flames could be seen.

Whilst flying at 4,000 ft and with his aircraft still in his control he called to say that he will have to bale out. He was observed to do just that, his parachute was seen to deploy successfully and to land safely at Zwet, some 5 miles south east of Rotterdam. Sadly still behind enemy lines and taken PoW. The aircraft hit the ground and exploded shortly afterwards.

It was assumed that his aircraft had been hit by ant-aircraft fire during the attack.

(1) At this very late stage of the war PoW details were almost non-existent and we are unable to complete further details.

Burial details:

None, survived the war as a PoW. W/O. Leslie Albert Edward Blake, born on the 03rd November 1922 at Gympie, Queensland, Australia. Enlisted on the 01st July 1941 in Brisbane. Trained on the Tiger Moth, Harvard, Master II, Hurricane and the Spitfire.

580 flying hours logged. Worked as a refrigeration service mechanic prior to service. Lived at 81 Buranda Street, Buranda, Brisbane, with his wife Hazell. Prior to discharge in early 1946 he was then serving with 464 Squadron, 140 Wing. No details on his civilian career post war. We welcome any further information.

KTY 04.09.2019

Acknowledgements: Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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