NAME ADAIR Leslie James
RANK Warrant Officer 1st / Air gunner 133591 RAF Bomber Command - Group 8 SQUADRON RAF No. 156 Pathfinder
“we light the way”
RAF Warboys Airfield in Huntingdonshire
Squadron Markings GT Born October 29, 1922 - Ottawa - Township of Nepean - County of Carleton Residence Toronto - Ontario Died January 3, 1944 21 years 2 months
Memorial Runnymede Memorial - Englefield Green – Egham - Surrey - England
Parents Mr. Roy and Gertrude Jean Adair of Wingham - Ontario
Leslie was born in Ottawa on October 29, 1922 and the family moved to Wingham before he was of school age. The family lived on Josephine Street. As he grew up he enjoyed playing baseball, football and hockey and his hobbies were reading and mechanics. He attended Wingham Public School from 1928-1937 and Wingham High School from 1937-39. The family would have attended St. Andrews Presbyterian Church. From July 1940 until September 1941 he was in the Militia with the 99th Field Battery - Royal Canadian Artillery. He was employed in the family trucking business as a truck driver and he was also a cake and bread salesman for Barker Broctin Bakers in Toronto prior to enlistment. Canada Leslie enlisted in Toronto into the Royal Canadian Air Force on September 12, 1941 at the RCAF Recruitment Centre and received the rank of Aircraftsman 2. At the time he stood 5' 9" and weighed 152 pounds. He had a fair complexion with blue eyes and brown hair. He was at the Recruitment Centre for twelve days before being posted to No. 1 Manning Depot in Toronto on September 25. His next posting on January 18, 1942 sent him to No. 1 Bombing and Gunnery School - Jarvis - Ontario and while here his air training average was 60% and placed 4 in a class of 4. His ground training average was 60% and he placed 34 in a class of 34. He received his Air Gunner Bade while posted here. He also received the rank of Leading Aircraftsman and Sergeant here. On March 4 it was eastward to "Y" Depot in Halifax - Nova Scotia. Sergeant Adair was AWOL on March 21 following leave and was admonished with a loss of one day of pay. On March 31 Sergeant Adair volunteered for the RAF Training Pool and was assigned to No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre in England.
On April 1 he embarked from Canada for overseas and two weeks later on April 14 he disembarked in the United Kingdom. The following day he arrived at RAF No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre in Bournemouth - Dorset. He remained here until July 1 when he was posted to RAF Uxbridge near London to No. 3 Air Gunner School. His next posting was on September 29 to the RAF Air Crew Disposal Wing at RAF Brighton - East Sussex. He would have been billeted at the Metropole Hotel. On November 2 he was assigned to the RCAF Personnel Dispatch Centre where he remained for approximately six weeks. Then on December 12 he was posted to RAF Dalcross - Invernesshire - Scotland. While here he received the rank of Flight Sergeant. His next posting on February 2, 1943 to RAF No. 28 Operational Training Unit based at RAF Wymeswold - Leicestershire. Following his time here his next posting on May 1 was to No. 1656 Heavy Conversion Unit based at RAF Lindholme - South Yorkshire. He was hospitalized while here for a Febrile Cold from May 29-June 5. Now he was off to RAF No. 12 Squadron on June 7 based at RAF Wickenby - Lincolnshire and they flew the Lancaster MK 1 and Mk III. During his time here he received the rank of Warrant Officer 2. He remained here until October 2 when he was posted to RAF No. 156 Squadron which flew the Mk BI and Mk BIII and were based in Huntingdonshire. On January 5, 1944 he received the rank of Warrant Officer 1 which was two days after he failed to return from a mission. Warrant Officer Adair was the tail gunner of Lancaster JB 553 GT J when it lifted off the runway at 0:08 am
hours of January 3rd. It is believed that he was the tail gunner for this mission. The target for the mission was Berlin because it was the centre of Nazism, it was a military target and it was a industrial target. Less than 30 minutes later German radio reconnaissance reported there was a major bomber stream about 12 miles off the Dutch coast heading to Berlin and were at a height of 21,300' - 23,000', At approximately 1:30 am and at the same time some of the 128 twin engine German night fighters from 1 Jagdkorps were to assemble at beacons over central Netherlands and at 1:36 am the fighters were directed into the bomber stream over Ijsselmeer and all the while were being fed accurate information on the bomber stream which continued until the bombers were over Berlin. It was off that very little of any Time Boar fighter action developed. During the night, Himmelbert night fighters over the Netherlands also entered the bomber stream. Lancaster JB 553 was lost by enemy flak very close to the outskirts of Berlin and crashed onto Berlin Reinickendorfer Street at 02:20 hours.
This aircraft carried a crew of 8 men and 6 of the crew have no known grave.
The Memorial Cross was received by Mrs Jean Adair in the month of May 1945. In January of 1946 the family received the 1939-45 Star, the Aircrew Europe Star, the Defence and War Medals plus the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with clasp.
Leslie is honoured and remembered on the Wingham Cenotaph. He is honoured and remembered on the Memorial Plaques of Wingham High School and St Andrews Presbyterian Church. You will find him honoured and remembered in the Books of Remembrance in the Canadian Parliament - Centre Block and on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial. He is honoured and remembered on the RCAF Bomber Command Memorial.