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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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263 Squadron Typhoon Ib RB335 Fl/Lt. Leonard Arthur Unwin

Operation: Armed Reconnaissance

Date: 24th December 1944 (Sunday)

Unit: No. 263 Squadron (motto: Ex ungue leonem - 'One knows the lion by his claw')

Type: Typhoon Ib

Serial: RB335

Code: HE-?

Base: B.70 Deurne, Holland

Location: Barneveld, Holland

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Leonard Arthur Unwin J/10393 (R/52074) RCAF Age 27. Killed


According to the squadron operation record books:

Taking off at 15:20 hrs on an armed recce in the Utrecht area Fl/Lt. Unwin was flying as No. 3 in a section of 4. (the others: F/O. W,E Watkins, F/O. A,R.S Peoctor and F/O. M.S.M Hanilton)

The section sighted and attacked three lorries moving along a road south east of Amersfort. The first pair encountered very little flak, but No. 4 reports that by the time Fl/Lt. Unwin and himself attacked, there was quite intense light flak coming from fields on either side of the road. They dived from approximately 7,000 feet and he observed Fl/Lt. Unwin's strikes on the way down.

His aircraft continued in the dive and blew up either on hitting the ground or quite close to it. The commanding officer of the squadron,Sq/Ldr. Robert Durham Rutter DFC. 42574 (1) explained 'this incident occurred at approximately 16:10 hours about three miles west of Barneveld, Holland'.

(1) Sq/Ldr. Robert Durham Rutter DFC a former Battle of Britain pilot. Died in October 1998 age 88. Bored in St. Mary's Churchyard, West Chilingto, West Sussex, England.(shown right)

Burial details:

Buried on the 27th December in a small churchyard in Woudenberg. One of two RAF pilots buried there,. The other: 23 year old, F/O. Mate Alexander Milich DFC. NZ/429666 RNZAF - killed on the 08th December 1944 whilst with 198 squadron.

Fl/Lt. Leonard Arthur Unwin. Woudenberg General Cemetery Grave 186. Born on the 02nd January 1917 in Sheffield, England. Moved to Canada when was aged 18 months. Educated at the Prince of Wales Public School and Sandwich Collegiate in Windsor. A member of the Border Cities Aero Club and completed 5 solo flying hours with a further 12 hours dual. Worked as a had been a shipping and invoicing clerk for Christie, Brown Co. Ltd, Windsor.

Enlisted at Windsor on the 06th June 1940. Trained at No. 1 Initial Training School, No. 7 Elementary Flying Training School, No. Service Flying Training School. Pilot badge awarded on the 20th December 1940 and promoted to sergeant. Posted to Canadian Forces Station ,Trenton, Ontario for a Flying Instructor's Course on the 23rd December 1940 - 24th February 1941. Posted to No. 9 Service Flying Training School, Summerside, as an instructor. 23rd February 1941 to 31st March1942. Received his commission on the 01st March 1942. Arrived in England on the 15th June 1943.Joined 263 squadron on the 08th November 1943

Son of James Arthur (died 22nd November 1969, age 84) and Minnie Unwin (née Gosnay - died 26th, July 1984, age 98). He had two older sisters, Minnie, 35 and Cora, 28. of 365 Rankin Boulevard, Windsor, Ontario, Canada, Husband of Evelyn Unwin,(née Paris - married on the 17th Mat 1941) They had a daughter, Marlys Ann Unwin, who was born and died on the 08th May 1943, Oof 117 Crawford Avenue, Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Epitaph: He Gave His Life In The Cause Of Freedom. Not A Day Do We Forget You In Our Hearts You Are Always Near We Who Love You Dearly Sadly Missed You More Each Year'.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to the National Archive Kew, thanks to Jeff Beaumont for transcribing the 263 Squadron operation record books, Government of Canada WW2 Military records, Paradie RCAF archives, The Typhoon Project.

Other pages that may interest you:

Pages regarding 1944 losses

Pages detailing RCAF losses

KTY 20-12-2023

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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', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. 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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