Leslie Harry Lissette was a Warrant Officer (W/O) in the Royal New Zealand Air Force
when he perished on May 4th, 1944
at age 26. He was serving overseas. In 1942, he had attended
No. 3 Service Flying Training School (SFTS) at Calgary
and received his Wings. Read further for the details of
this man’s training through the British Commonwealth Air
Training Plan (BCATP) and his courageous service.
Lissette was born in Hastings, New Zealand on August 24th, 1917. In June of 1939,
he applied to serve as an airman and, on being accepted, enlisted
at Royal New Zealand
Air Force Station, Ohakea, where he was employed on ground
duties. During the following three years, he was posted to the Royal New
Zealand Air Force Station, Nelson, remustered to pilot and was posted to Initial
Training Flying at Rotorua and No. 2 Elementary Flying
Training School, New Plymouth, for training. By October 1942, he
for Canada to continue his training.
Shortly after his arrival in Canada, Leslie Lissette
was posted to No.3 Service Flying
Training School, Calgary, Alberta. He was soon awarded his flying badge and promoted to the rank
of Sergeant (Sgt), with promotions to Flight Sergeant (Flt
Sgt) and to Warrant Officer (W/O) following. In March 1943, he proceeded to No. 1 "Y"
Depot, Halifax, Nova Scotia, to await embarkation for the
United Kingdom. Within a few short months, Lissette was in
England, where he continued refine his flying and instrument
skill at various training units and on different aircraft,
including the Wellington bomber, the Stirling bomber and the
Lancaster heavy bomber.
On April 24th, 1944
he was posted to No. 207 Squadron, Spilsby, Lincolnshire
and commenced operational flying. With this squadron, as
captain of a Lancaster bomber he took part in four operational
flights comprising attacks on Schweinfurt in Germany and
Clermont Ferrand, Tours and Mailly-Le-Camp in France.
From this last operation against Mailly-Le-Camp, undertaken
on the evening of May 3rd, 1944, the aircraft failed to return
to its base and all members of the crew, including Warrant
Officer Lissette, were classified as missing. Later, it was
learned that five of the crew had managed to make a parachute
descent and upon their return to England, they stated that
Lissette had stayed at the controls until
it was too late for him to bail out, this action being,
without doubt, in order to give the others the opportunity
to bail safely. It was reported that a French
policeman had collected Lissette's identity tags and then
stated that the Germans had buried the young Warrant Officer
and the other members of the crew in a cemetery
near the crashed aircraft.
Warrant Officer Lissette was reclassified as missing, believed
killed in action. In due course, his death was officially
presumed to have occurred on May 4th, 1944 as the result
of air operations. Subsequent investigations established
that Warrant Officer Lissette had, indeed, been buried in the cemetery
at Chantreux, France.