The Airmen's Stories - P/O L W Graham
Leslie William Graham was born on 17th February 1914 in Germiston in the province of Transvaal (now Gauteng), South Africa.
He was educated at St. Johns College, Johannesburg.
Graham joined the Transvaal Air Training Squadron in January 1935, going on to a commission in the South African Permanent Force (Air Force) in March 1936. His first posting was the Cape Squadron.
He underwent flying training and was awarded his wings on 8th July 1936.
He was appointed Staff Officer (Adjutant and Quartermaster) at Roberts Heights, Pretoria in September 1936, serving until November 1938, when he returned to the Air Force.
His commission expired in March 1939 and he was transferred to the SAAF Special Reserve of Flying Officers..
Graham is recorded as arriving in Southampton aboard the ss Athlone Castle on 31st March 1939 from Durban, South Africa.
He gave as his address here 52 Craiglea Drive, Edinburgh, his birth year 1914 and occupation 'Air Force'. He is recorded in July 1939 as being employed by Western Airways Ltd. at Weston-super-Mare Airport though his role is unknown.
He was later granted a direct-entry RAFVR commission because of his previous service.
He arrived at 7 OTU Hawarden on 15th July 1940 and after converting to Hurricanes joined 56 Squadron at North Weald on 29th July.
His Hurricane, V7368, was set alight in a surprise attack by enemy aircraft during a sector patrol on 16th August. Graham baled out, slightly injured. He was posted away three days later to RAF North Weald as non-effective sick.
His subsequent service is currently undocumented until Graham was released from the RAF in 1946 as a Squadron Leader.
He is believed to have died in South Africa in 1988.
Additional research and above image courtesy of Gary Jones, Port Elizabeth, SA.