© 2009 454 & 459 RAAF Squadrons

459 RAAF Squadron

Middle East

Flight Sergeant Leslie “Shorty” Broomfield

Service number: 404397

Date of Birth: 9 February 1917

Place of birth: Wellington NZ

Date of Enlistment: 16 August 1940

Date of death: 10 July 1942


The information below was obtained courtesy of "Dessert Scorpions" by Professor Leon Kane-Maguire - is a history of 459 Squadron. See our News page for information on how to obtain a copy.


Crew of the Hudson FH247

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.