Leonard Elmer "Len" Fitchett

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Len Fitchett & A C Hardy
Fitchett & his Navigator Alex C. Hardy (RAF)

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FITCHETT, F/O Leonard Elmer (J93441) - MiD - No.409 Squadron
Award effective 1 January 1946 as per London Gazette of that date &
AFRO 388/46 dated 12 April 1946.


Born 10 September 1922.
Home in Victoria.
Enlisted in Vancouver, 30 March 1942.
To No.3 Manning Depot, 4 May 1942.
To No.7 SFTS (guard duty), 22 June 1942.
To No.4 ITS, Edmonton, 15 August 1942 (graduated as LAC, 9 Oct. 1942).
To No.5 EFTS, High River, 24 Oct. 1942 (graduated 28 Dec. 1942) & posted
To No.7 SFTS, Ft. MacLeod, (graduated as Sergeant, 16 April 1943).
To "Y" Depot, 30 April 1943.
To RAF overseas, 26 May 1943.
Posted to 409 Squadron.
Promoted Flight Sergeant, 16 October 1943.
Promoted WO2, date uncertain.
Commissioned 9 January 1945.
Repatriated 7 July 1945.
Promoted Flying Officer, 9 July 1945.
To No.3 Repair Depot, 15 August 1945.
To No.8 Release Centre, 8 October 1945.
Released 18 October 1945.

Joined the Israeli Air Force through John McElroy, serving under the
code-name "Mahal" and leading a Beaufighter unit ("B" Flight, 103 Bomber
and Transport Squadron).
Shot down by ground fire 20 Oct 1948.*
The 3 man crew of Beaufighter D170 survived but all three were captured &
subsequently killed by Egyptians.
He is buried in Israel next to four other ex RCAF members, George Beurling,
Oliver Holton, Spencer Boyd & Fred Stevenson.

* - "On the morning of October 19th, D.171 was sent to assist the Israeli Navy in battles against Egyptian naval vessels when it encountered an Egyptian Hawker Fury flown by Abd Al-Hamid Abu Zayd, commander of Egypt's 2nd squadron. Aware that the Beaufighter stood little chance in a dogfight, the pilot, Len Fitchett, jettisoned his bomb load and put his bomber into a dive low over the water. Followed by the Egyptian, Fitchett abruptly pulled up, just in time to see the Fury crash into the sea. The same day saw a Beaufighter bombing the Egyptian stronghold of Iraq-Suidan.
On the next day, October 20th, two Beaufighters again took off from Ramat David to assist Israeli forces in fighting around Iraq-Suidan.
The lead aircraft, manned by Leonard Fitchett (Ignoring orders, Fitchett made a second pass at the target and suffered a hit in the port engine), Dov Shugerman and Stanley Andrews, was hit by anti-aircraft fire and crashed in Egyptian controlled territory, all three survived but were captured, murdered and mutilated by Egyptian troops. When Israeli forces finally gained control of the crash site, only Fitchett's body was recovered. D.170, the downed Beaufighter, was not found for decades and only in November 1994 was it unearthed from the sands of southern Israel, its remains found in a construction site. What small parts of it that remain are today displayed in the IAF museum at Hazterim."

For additional info see this page on Stan Andrews


Fitchett & Hardy
25 April 1944 - Fitchett & Hardy pose with their Mossie after being "downed" by friendly fire (another Mosquito from another unit - the CO apologized) on their return from destroying a Ju52/3m.



Victories Include :

24/25 Sept 1944
24/25 April 1945

19 October 1948
one He111
one Ju52/3m

one Sea Fury

MM589 (Maastricht)
MM588 (Konigsburg)

D170 (no shots fired)[a]

2 / 0 / 0

plus 1 in the Israeli War

[a] S/L Muhammad Abd al Hamid Abu Zaid, Commanding Officer of 2 Sqn REAF KIA




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