Leslie Frank (Les) Hayward

Conflict: 
WW2
Additional Information: 

Son of Jephunneh Morley Claude and Florence Ada Hayward, of Houghton Bay, Wellington.

References:
  • CWGC
NZ WAR GRAVES
CONTRIBUTED

Public Contributions:

Sub-Lt Les Hayward was a Swordfish pilot with 838 Naval Air Squadron, attached to the Royal Navy from RNZNVR. He was the youngest of 3 brothers, originating from Houghton Bay, Wellington. He arrived ... Read More
Sub-Lt Les Hayward was a Swordfish pilot with 838 Naval Air Squadron, attached to the Royal Navy from RNZNVR. He was the youngest of 3 brothers, originating from Houghton Bay, Wellington. He arrived in the UK at Gosport in September 1941; after pilot training he saw service in North Africa, Malta, missions over Italy, further training in Scotland, before being posted to RAF Harrowbeer in Devon, coming under the umbrella of RAF Coastal Command. On the night of 30th April / 1st May 1944 his plane, plus two others (9 casualties in all) were all intercepted over / near The Baie des Anges (Bay of Angels, Brittany) by a German Destroyer which was scuttled there. 838 Sqn were sent to finish it off using rocket firing projectiles. Unfortunately the ship still had use of all it's guns and the Swordfish were no match for it and were picked off with ease I imagine. What's really sad is that orders for the attack had been mixed up - the mission was meant to have been carried out by a Typhoon squadron, but 838 were tasked by mistake. The Operations Officer at Harrowbeer was quickly removed from his post and never heard of again, such was the calamitous error he had made. Half of 838 squadron were lost that night, having only been at Harrowbeer for about 10 days. It should be noted that the body of the rear gunner / radio operator of Les' Swordfish (this aircraft carried the markings NE923/G), a 19 year old Englishman, Leading Airman Brian Rowntree, was washed up on a beach on the south coast of England. The stretch of water that separates the north Brittany coast near Brest, where the destroyer was located, and Plymouth, near to where Harrowbeer is situated, is vast; it is highly likely that Les and his crew nearly made it back before ditching in the sea. The other crew member, the observer, was a 24 year old Englishman, Sub-Lt David Hanson. The bodies of Les and David were never recovered and their place of death is recorded as The English Channel. Both Les' brothers survived the war; his eldest brother, my grandfather Wilf also having been a pilot in RNZNVR, and the middle brother Stan having served with the NZ Army in Italy.


Personal Tributes:

Casualty

Name:
Leslie Frank (Les) Hayward
Date of Birth:
Not known
Date of Enlistment:
Not known
Armed Force: 
Navy
Unit:
Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve, HMS Jackdaw

Casualty Details

Cause of Death:
Not known
Date of Death:
01 May 1944
Day of Death:
Monday
Age at Death: 
24
Conflict: 
WW2

Embarkation Details

Embarkation Body:
Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve (Fleet Air Arm)

Text in italics supplied by Cenotaph Online, Auckland War Memorial Museum

Cemetery

Cemetery Reference: 
Panel 8.
Cemetery Location: 
New Zealand
Leslie Frank (Les) Hayward
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