In Memoriam  -  Flying Officer Leslie Claude Walters   28/9/33 died 24/8/1954 (not quite 21)                    Home

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William John Berrill

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Died after Korean War:


Leslie Walters


Flying Officer L C Walters died in a  "Flame out in a Vampire Jet Engine"    Gordon Wiggins, (1945)

Definition: flame out,

(of a jet engine) to cease to function due to an interruption of the fuel supply or to faulty combustion.


No 249 (Gold Coast) Squadron  

Motto:      Pugnis et Calcibus  (With fists and heels)


In June 1954 the squadron moved to Ammam Jordan, where it operated  for the next two and a half years before moving to Akrotiri in Cyprus in January 1957.


Family Information


Air-crash report relating to Les Walters supplied by Alwyn York (1945)

24-Aug-54    WR192 Vampire FB9    249 SQN

7 miles south east of Mafraq, Jordan. 1 killed.

Whilst making a live attack on the range, the aircraft was dived more steeply than normal at the target. When reaching the estimated break-off point the aircraft continued in a more shallow dive, passed over the target and at a height of about 50` began it`s pull out. The aicraft continued it`s downward path in a tail down attitude and struck the ground.

Flying Officer Leslie Claude Walters age 20 was killed. in a Vampire FB9:

A Tropicalised fighter-bomber through addition of air conditioning to Mark 5.

Powered by Goblin 3 turbojet. 326 built, mostly by de Havilland.      

No ejector seats fitted in the Vampire till  the later T34A models


Above:   Vampire Fighter FB9


To Fly No More: RAF Aircraft Accidents and Write-offs 1954-1958

By Colin Cummings Published by Nimbus, 1999 ISBN 0952661926, 9780952661924    340 pages

The above information was sourced from a Ben Sharman who runs a web site recording all reports worldwide of air accidents involving the use of aircraft ejection seats. This aircraft was not fitted with such but this person was very savvy and sourced the above report within hours of my question to him.      (


Right:  Cockpit with Canopy Opened.

Below: Vampire instrument panel  and further down photos of two Vampire models to delineate the design. 

Official Information on the FB9 flown:

serial=WR WR192 Vampire FB9 d/d 20/06/1952, w/o 24/08/1954, s.o.c. 06/09/1954 as CAT 5(s) with MEAF 

DE HAVILLAND PRODUCTION   Ches FR9 WR192 Written off 24.08.54 SOC 06.09.54 as CAT 5(s) with MEAF


Models of the Vampire FB9


No 249 (Gold Coast) Squadron   Motto:      Pugnis et Calcibus  (With fists and heels)

Initially formed at Dundee on the 18th August 1918 and for the remainder of the war flew anti—submarine patrols off the Scottish coast before being disbanded in 1919.


Reformed Church Fenton 16.5.40 and during work up to operational status on 3.7.40 was the first Hurricane unit to complete 1000 hours per month, On 3.7.40 out of Leconfield, 249 Squadron finished what 41 Squadron had started by shooting down a Ju88 into the sea off Hornsea.


On 16.8.40 Flt Lt J.B.Nicholson gained the only Fighter Command Victoria Cross by staying in the burning Hurricane P3576 to attack a Bf110. The unit moved to North Weald in September 1940 to relieve 56 Squadron and in October of that year went over to regular convoy and other patrols. In January 1941 Blenheims on raids to Northern France were given escort by the squadron, this continuing till the non operational move to Malta where they arrived on 21.5.41. Main operations at this time were against the Italians till the end of 1941 when the Germans again tried to take control of the island. The squadron was also engaged in fighter bomber operations against Comiso airfield carrying 8 x 20lb bombs under the wings.


Dispersal to Luqa was necessary in February 1942 when the home base of Ta Kali was frequently bombed.  Defensive action for Malta carried on with Spitfires claiming their first victory in March 1942 when on the 10th a Bf109 was destroyed and 2 probables were claimed.  In April the 249th claimed 27 aircraft destroyed, 12 probables and 27 damaged before becoming the first squadron to claim 100 enemy aircraft destroyed in the defence of Malta.  Sicilian airfields were attacked by Spitfire bombers towards the end of ‘42 and the squadron then moved on to Italy in 1943, resuming armed recce missions in the Spring of 1944 largely over Albania and Yugoslavia as a prelude to joining the Balkan Air Force in 1944.


In September 1944, Mustangs were introduced for bombing and strafing operations till the end of the war except for April/May 1945 when the 249th was attached to 281 Wing at Prkos flying Spitfire IX s. The squadron was once again disbanded on 18.8.45 at Brindisi.


On 23 October 1945, the squadron was reformed when No 500 Squadron  (City of Kent) at Eastleigh in Kenya was renumbered as 249.  Initially equipped as a photo recce unit with Baltimores, these were rlater converted to Mosquitoes  in March 1946 as a light fighter bomber squadron.  Mosquitoes suffered from shrinkage so Tempest 6 s were introduced instead in late 1946.  Tempests were used till 1950 when, resident in the Canal Zone, the squadron converted to Vampires.  , which it used to conduct survey flights of the region.  Once completed the squadron moved Habbaniya in Iraq in June, where it re-equipped with Tempest Vs and VIs in December, at the same becoming a fighter unit.  In April 1949, it moved to Egypt receiving Vampires in the following February, remaining there until June 1954, when it moved to Jordan.  It operated from Amman for the next two and a half years before moving to Akrotiri in Cyprus in January 1957.  In September it re-equipped with Canberras B2s B6s and B16s  at Coningsby when it moved to be part of the Akrotiri Strike Wing  , operating various marks of this aircraft until being disbanded on 24 February 1969.

No 249 Squadron Association: - Honorary Secretary: Sqn Ldr T E Gill MBE RAF (Ret'd), 5 Sherring Close, Bracknell, Berks. RG42 2LD, tel: 01344 640573, fax: 01344 640207,


Family Information

The Father, who was black, came from Jamaica to the 'Motherland' as a young man and married a white lady from London. They had 5 children as follows:

Cyril - who was a good amateur boxer but now deceased

Sylvia - who was a qualified nurse, now a widow living in Finedon

Leslie - more about him below

Norman - who also went to W.G.S. a couple of years after Leslie, always known as 'Sambo'

and he now lives in Leicester

Gordon - known to his family as Nipper - he still lives in Finedon.


 Sylvia, a very pleasant lady,  is now Mrs. McGuire but widowed. She moved back to Finedon 10 years ago from the Coventry area; she is now 77 and was very close to Leslie who would have been 76 in September this year. I have visited her and she was more than happy to give me the following information:

Leslie was a Flying Officer in 249 Squadron stationed in Amman, Jordan. He was flying a Vampire Jet apparently on a training mission involving 'air to ground' targets and his plane failed to pull out of a dive and crashed into the desert. His family were never able to find out exactly what happened and were obviously devastated. This occurred on 24th August 1954, he would have been 21 the next month on 28th September. He was single but was due to get married 4 months after his death to Eileen Millard from Irthlingborough who I knew very well but lost touch with - she now lives in Plymouth.

A member of the 1st XV in 1949-1950 (Below:  back row, extreme right)