Leonard Garth (Swip) WHIBLEY

WHIBLEY, Leonard Garth

Service Number: 407565
Enlisted: 9 November 1940
Last Rank: Sergeant
Last Unit: No. 83 Squadron (RAF) (Pathfinder Force)
Born: Henley Beach, South Australia, 18 February 1918
Home Town: Henley South, South Australia
Schooling: Woodville High School and Urrbrae Agricultural School, South Australia
Occupation: Colour mixer/Technician (Lusteroid)
Died: Flying Battle, United Kingdom,, 14 February 1942, aged 23 years
Cemetery: Hebburn Cemetery, Hebburn, Tyne and Wear, England
Memorials: Adelaide WW2 Wall of Remembrance, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Henley Beach Council Fallen WW1 & WW2 Honour Board, Henley Beach Council WW2 Honour Roll and Addendum, International Bomber Command Centre Memorial, St Clair Woodville High School Honour Roll
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World War 2 Service

9 Nov 1940: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, 407565, Adelaide, South Australia
9 Nov 1940: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Sergeant, 407565
13 Feb 1942: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Sergeant, 407565, No. 83 Squadron (RAF) (Pathfinder Force), Air War NW Europe 1939-45
Date unknown: Involvement

The Channel Dash

I would like to make an alteration to the story above as I have recorded the wrong serial number of the Manchester Bomber in which Sgt. L.G. Whibley - rear air gunner, 83 Squadron was mortally wounded.........the correct number is:

Serial Number L7389
Call Sign: OL M

The Channel Dash

I am the daughter of the late 904882 Flt. Sgt. John Henry Allen, DFM & Bar, PFF 83 Squadron, Bomber Command.

My father flew with 407565 Sgt. Leonard Garth Whibley in Manchester L7387 OL M on the ill fated flight to attack the German battle ships 'Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and the Prince Eugen.
L7387 was attacked by enemy aircraft from the rear with the rear gunner returning fire......the aircraft was attacked again at close range with both the rear gunner and the mid upper gunner returning fire. A third attack was made by a single enemy aircraft at close range. These attacks caused much damage to the Manchester as did fire from the battleships and their escorts. L7387 flew over the battleships at 500 feet but was unable to open the bomb doors as the aircrafts hydraulics had been badly damaged.
My father told me that Sgt. Whibley had been injured and he had to pull him from his position in the rear of the aircraft to administer first aid. Sadly Sgt. Whibley died of his injuries.

My fathers log book lists the operation thus:

Date: 12.2.42, Hour: 14.50, Pilot: P/O McFarlane, F/Sgt. Partridge, Duty: M/U AG
Remarks: DAY OPERATIONS. S and G. Hydraulics shot away. Rear gunner killed,
attacked by fighters. Force landed at Bircham Newton. Flying time: 2.25 hrs

The crew were: 83 Squadron

111222 P/O Robert McFarlane - Pilot (awarded the DFC for this action)
742635 Flt. Sgt. John E. Partridge - 2nd Pilot (later DSO., DFC & Bar., PFF)
106564 P/O John R. Feirn - Navigator
47610 P/O John P. Hayes - Wireless Operator (DFM)
930648 Sgt. John H. Ridd - 2nd Wireless Operator
904882 Sgt. John H. Allen - Mid Upper Air Gunner (later DFM & Bar., PFF)
Aus. 407565 Leonard Garth Whibley - Rear Air Gunner

Showing 2 of 2 stories

Biography contributed by John Edwards


Mr. and Mrs. Les. N. Whibley. of Henley Beach road. Henley South, have been advised that their son, Sgt. Air-Gnr. Garth Whibley, died from injuries received in air operations at Norfolk, England, on Friday. After leaving Woodville High School, Sgt. Air-Gnr. Whibley went to Urrbrae Agricultural School, and joined his uncle, Mr. G. W. Williams, of Greenwood  Park, Auburn, in pastoral work. Later he went to Andamooka Station, via Pimba. When he joined the R.A.A.F. he was in charge of the store and chief color mixer with Lusteroid (S.A.) Ltd." - from the Adelaide News 16 Feb 1942 (nla.gov.au)