454 and 459 RAAF Squadrons
Flight Sergeant Leslie “Shorty” BROOMFIELD
459 RAAF Squadron
Service number: 404397
Date of Birth: 9 Feb 1917
Place of birth: Wellington NZ
Date of Enlistment: 16 Aug 1940
Date of death: 10 Jul 1942
The information below was obtained courtesy of "Dessert Scorpions" by Professor Leon Kane-Maguire - is a history of 459 Squadron.
Crew of the Hudson FH247
F/O Cecil Terence O’Brien
Pilot Officer Charles Patrick Lawton
F/Sgt Joseph William Clarke
WOP/AG Leslie Broomfield
On 8 July 1942, in a change from the routine, the Squadron received orders to forward all available aircraft to Idku for a dawn shipping strike against an enemy convoy detected making its way towards Tobruk.
On the following day 9 July 1942, nine Hudson crew flew to Idku, on the coast near Alexandria, arriving mid-afternoon.
The planned attack was to occur at dawn on 10 July 1942, with takeoff set at 01:30am.
Takeoff in the darkness was marred by unexplained tragedy, when Hudson FH247, piloted by Terry O’Brien failed to clear the palm trees at the end of the runway and burst into flames. There was no hope for the unfortunate crew who perished before the raid had got underway.
Other events have lead to this operation being identified as the most costly operation ever carried out during the 459 Squadron history.