32 OTU Hampden I AJ994 Sgt. Herbert David McLeod
Date: 28th September 1943 (Tuesday)
Unit: No. 32 Operational Training Unit. Western Air Command (1)
Type: Hampden I (2)
Base: RCAF Patricia Bay, Vancouver Island, British Columbia (1)
Location: Retreat Cove, Galiano Island, British Columbia
Pilot: Sgt. Herbert David Walker McLeod NZ/405556 RNZAF Age 23. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Weather forecast was good, with unlimited ceiling, high overcast with scattered clouds at 4,500 ft. and visibility of five miles.
Taking off on flying solo steep turns and single engine flying practice.
At around 00:17 hrs, an aircraft was seen flying north-west at about 1,000 - 1,200 feet. Suddenly, the nose went down and it began to spin. The engine stopped as it dropped behind the tree.
The crashed aircraft was located on the side of a 600 ft hill near Retreat Cove, Galiano Island. It was identified as AJ994 and the pilot had died instantly on impact. The aircraft was totally destroyed.
The accident was attributed to either the pilot’s inexperience or rough air conditions, and to the aircraft having insufficient height to recover from the spin.
The recommendation of the court of inquiry was that pilots should be compelled to conform more closely to regulations for their exercises.
Burial and personal details:
Sgt. Herbert David McLeod. Victoria Burial Park (Royal Oak). Sec. D. Plot 20. Grave 7. Born on the 19th February 1920 in Dunedin. Educated at Otago Boys High School. A salesman in electrical showroom for Dunedin City Corporation. Enlisted on the 13th December 1940 at Harewood as an equipment assistant. With No. 1 Elementary Flying Training School 28th February 1941 and remastered as a pilot under training 27th July 1942. No. 3 Elementary Flying Training School on the 04th September 1942, with his 1st solo on the 21st September 1942.
Embarked for Canada on the RMS Mauritania 24th December 1942 arriving 07th January 1943. No. 7 Service Flying Training School, class 73 25th January 1943. Flying badge awarded and promoted to sergeant on the 14th May 1943. No. 31 Ground Reconnaissance School, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Quebec on the 29th May 1943. Joined 32 Operational Training Unit in Patricia Bay, Vancouver Island, British Columbia on the 21st August 1943. A total of 255 flying hours accumulated with 7 of these solo on the Hampden.
Son of Herbert David Smalley McLeod (died 09th July 1949, age 55) and Christina McLeod (née Leith - died 28 Feb 1971, age 71), of Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand. His younger brother, John Mark Sanders McLeod (shown left) served in the 18 Armoured Regiment, 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force. (Born on the 28th June 1922, passed away on the 10th August 2016, age 94). Herbert's epitaph: 'I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes Unto The Hills From Whence Cometh My Help . Psalm 121'.
(1) 32 OTU was formed at West Kirby, Liverpool, the personnel then moved by ship to Patricia Bay, British Columbia, as part of No.4 Training Command. Tasked to train general reconnaissance crews, and the first Avro Ansons arrived in September 1941, and Bristol Beaufighters arrived in October 1942. With the start of the war in the Pacific, the unit was declared an operational squadron to protect the Canadian coast from Japanese raids and re-designated No. 32 Operational Squadron on 15th December 1941. After a few days mounting patrols, it became clear that the Japanese were unlikely to attack Canada, and it reverted to an Operational Training Unit on the 29th December 1941. Re-designated No. 6 Operational Training Unit RCAF in June 1944.
(2) Above: Handley Page Hampden from No. 32 Operational Training Unit flying over RCAF Patricia Bay, British Columbia.
The Handley Page HP 52 Hampden was a British twin engined bomber flown by the RCAF during the Second World War in Canada and overseas. The Hampden served in the early stages of the war, bearing the brunt of the early bombing war over Europe, taking part in the first night raid on Berlin and in the first 1000 bomber raid on Cologne.
In Canada, Hampdens were built by six companies that formed Associated Aircraft. There were three in Ontario and three in Quebec, hence they were identified as the Ontario Group and Quebec Group. They supplied all the the components to the two assembly plants. The Ontario Group's assembly plant was at the Malton Airport, while the Quebec group's assembly plant was at the St. Hubert Airport.
Above (some identified) L-R: Rear; John Ross Hadley NZ/422944 ✞, Robert Alfred Heaney NZ/422452, E.C Heaton NZ/428817, Robert Bruce Fraser NZ/428779, Trevor Arthur Kemp NZ/422412 ✞, B.D Harris.
Centre; Herbert David McLeod NZ/405556 ✞, C.C Dumblton, James Henry Eveleigh NZ/422068, C.G Fantham, Graham Henry Goss NZ/428757, W.J Horgan, D.W Lee.
Front; John Bernard Gudgeon NZ/428786 ✞, E.O.W McConnell, N.F Marriott, R.D Cians, T.C Maud, D.W Mann, R.A McAllister (Courtesy Air Museum of New Zealand)
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot, thanks to the extensive research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, New Zealand Cenotaph, Weekly News of New Zealand, Air Museum of New Zealand, Museum of Transport and Technology, Auckland, Alan Dove for photo of John McLeod, other sources as quoted below: