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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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Fighter Command
53 OTU Master III T8771 F/O. Leonard Archibald Haines DFC.

Operation: Training/Air Test

Date: 30th April 1941 (Wednesday)

Unit: No. 53 Operational Training Unit. 81 Group

Type: Master III

Serial: T8771

Code: MV-?

Base: RAF Heston, London

Location: Hounslow Barracks, London

Pilot: F/O. Leonard Archibald Haines DFC. 40297 RAF Age 21. Killed

Pass: Cpl. Thomas Frederick George Press 354922 RAF age 36. Killed


On the 11th of September 1940, the pilot escaped injury after a forced landing in Spitfire Ia X4059 following combat damage.

Battle of Britain pilot and an ace was posted away in late 1940 to be an instructor at 53 OTU at RAF Heston.

He had joined the RAF on the 28th November 1937 serving with 19 squadron at Duxford. On the 02nd of February 1938, Leonard was commissioned as Flying Officer by King George VI.

He was credited with 14 victories during his short life with 4 of these shared and 2 probable:

June 01st, 1940: Messerschmitt Bf 109 northeast of Dunkirk
June 01st, 1940: Heinkel He 111 (probable) Dunkirk area
August 19th, 1940: Messerschmitt Bf 110 (shared) 8 miles east of Aldburgh
September 03rd, 1940: Messerschmitt Bf 110 Colchester/Thames Estuary
September 05th, 1940: Messerschmitt Bf 109 Chatham/Ashford
September 11th, 1940: Messerschmitt Bf 110 Gravesend
September 15th, 1940: Messerschmitt Bf 109 west of Biggin Hil
September 15th, 1940: Messerschmitt Bf 109 Thames Estuary
September 15th, 1940: Messerschmitt Bf 110 Beachy Head
September 18th, 1940: Junkers Ju 88 (shared) Isle of Sheppey
September 18th, 1940: Messerschmitt Bf 109 (probable) Thames Estuary/Birchington
November 05th, 1940: Messerschmitt Bf 109 (shared) Thames Estuary/Birchington
\November 15th, 1940: Messerschmitt Bf 110 (shared) 3o miles east-south-east of Harwich
November 28th, 1940: Messerschmitt Bf 109 5 miles east Ramsgate.

On the 08th October 1940 he was awarded the DFC:

'Flying Officer Haines has destroyed seven enemy aircraft and assisted in the destruction of another. Twice he has pursued hostile aircraft to France and shot them down. He has shown the utmost courage, tenacity, and devotion to duty'.

In 1941 Haines was transferred to a training unit in Hounslow Barracks, England to train incoming RAF pilots for combat. During a routine flight, he was forced to crash land the Miles Master as the landing gear failed.

Other reports state that the aircraft spun in.

Burial details:

F/O. Leonard Archibald Haines DFC. Hounslow Cemetery. Plot D. Row B. Grave 2. Education at Dorchester and Wimborne Grammar Schools in Dorset. Son of Archibald and Bertha Haines of Melcombe Regis, Weymouth, Dorset, England. Husband of Marguerita Lilian Lepere.

Cpl. Thomas Frederick George Press. Hounslow Cemetery. Plot D. Row C. Grave 2. Son of Thomas and Catherine Press and husband of Kate Press, of Hillingdon, London, England. Grave inscription: As We Loved Him So We Miss Him Bringing Many A Silent Tear. Kitty And George'.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Christopher Shores and Clive Williams 'Aces High', other sources as quoted below:

KTY 08-01-2022

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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', 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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