© 2009 454 & 459 RAAF Squadrons
459 RAAF Squadron Desert Air Force Middle East
F/Lt. Leonard Eric (Len) ELSNER - Navigator/Bomb Aimer
Service Number: 414009
[Died 8th November 1999]
F/Lt. Leonard Eric (Len) Elsner Navigator/Bomb Aimer - Eric was a member of the 459 RAAF Squadron crew in the above photo
Flight Lieutenant - Bill Collins - Pilot
Flight Sgt. - Ken Nicholl - Wireless Operator
Flight Sgt. - Jack Farland - Wireless Operator/Air Gunner
During Eric's operational tour 459 were flying Baltimores.
Marie Elsner in a letter dated 16.1.2000 has written:
“I met Len on his first week-end leave from Evans Head Bombing and Gunnery Training course. I'd just come off 8 weeks of night duty at Lismore Hospital and my friend and I thought we'd earned a night out and went to the Saturday night dance held for the “troops”.
After 7 weeks Len moved onto Parkes where he got his “wings”’ looking very smart I must say! About 6 weeks later they sailed off to the UK, then Egypt – away for about 2 ½ years. We became engaged in 1944 and were married in July 1945. Len arrived back in April, and the war ended in August. He was posted to Sandgate arranging post-war rehabilitation until his discharge in April 1946.
Len had very good health, except for a mild miocardic mishap in 1979 – his death was very sudden, a ruptured aortic aneurism – just 7 hours from “go to whoa”. When the surgeon told him he might not survive an operation, and if he didn't operate he wouldn't make it, Len's reply was – "I've had 85 good years so lets leave it at that".
We had our Golden Wedding in 1995 – have 3 lovely daughters and great son-in-laws and 9 beautiful grandchildren – what more could you ask for?
Unfortunately Ken Nicholl and Jack Farland have also died and Bill Collins has not been well so that their operational details are not readily available.
Marie Elsner has sent the crew photo standing near Baltimore “H” Harry.
Leonard Eric ELSNER
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