Sergeant Leonard John Patterson
Leonard John Patterson was the son of John and Nina Patterson of Freeland, Oxfordshire.
He was born in Johannesburg, though some doubts exist about the year of his birth – CWGC records would suggest that he was born in 1917, but a Nina Patterson, Housewife, aged 33, and her son Leonard John Patterson, aged 2, are listed as passengers on the S.S. Borda, sailing from London to Capetown in January 1921 – which would mean he was born in 1919. Leonard spent his boyhood in Ballymoney, Northern Ireland, and was educated at Ballymoney Model School and Coleraine Academical Institution.
Patterson joined the RAFVR as an Airman under training/Pilot in January 1938, and was called to full time service on the outbreak of war. From 28th April 1940, he trained at No.2 Flying Training School, RAF Brize Norton, completing Course No.47 on 3rd August. A week later he arrived at No.7 Operational Training Unit, RAF Howarden, to convert to Hurricanes.
Patterson joined his first and only squadron, No.501 at RAF Kenley, on 2nd September, 1940. He was shot down by Me.109’s east of Hastings on 28th November. It is believed that his Hurricane, P5189, crashed into the sea, where it was lost without trace.
Patterson’s demise is recorded in the Squadron Operations Record Book:
”When flying east of Hastings 3 Me.109s came up from the south. The Me.109s got round behind the Squadron. Sergeant Patterson had fallen behind and was among the rear of the formation when one of the enemy aircraft singled him out for attack. In spite of repeated warnings both from the Squadron Commander and other pilots he seemed to sit still and take no evasive action. The Me.109 closed in and Sergeant Patterson dived straight down and presumably fell into the sea.”
Rest in peace Sir and thank you for your service.