Sergeant Walter Leonard Sargent (1321977) served in the Royal Air Force during World War Two. He flew with RAF 103 Squadron at his time of death. Born in Rostrevor, Co. Down, he was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Sargent.
He was an air bomber in the squadron. From October 1942, RAF 103 Squadron operated Avro Lancaster BI and BIII craft. Their base was RAF Elsham Wolds, Lincolnshire. Sargent died on 2nd December 1943 aged 23 years old on board Lancaster BIII JB401 PM-P. He is buried alongside other men from his crew.
Remembering the crew of JB401
|Last Name||First Name(s)||Rank||Role||Information|
|Hopps||Francis Thomas||Flight Lieutenant||Pilot||RAFVR 133250. Distinguished Flying Cross.|
|Black||Roland Edward||Warrant Officer||Air Gunner||RCAF R/123878.|
|Daniel||Jack Bays||Sergeant||Air Gunner||RAFVR 1473420.|
|Roberts||Frederick John||Pilot Officer||Navigator||RCAF J/18831.|
|Imeson||Robert Stanton||Sergeant||Flight Engineer||RAFVR 1480164.|
|Thomas||Roy||Sergeant||Air Gunner||RAFVR 1334293.|
|Sargent||Walter Leonard||Sergeant||Air Bomber||RAFVR 1321977.|
Flight Lieutenant Hopps piloted the Lancaster leaving RAF Elsham Wolds at 1654hrs. A heavy cloud front over the North Sea led to the squadron having to climb to aid navigation. Around a tenth of the force returned to base with icing on the wings. Hopps and crew made it to Berlin.
German authorities anticipated a night raid that evening and night fighters were out in strength. Walter Leonard Sargent and his crew in JB401 came under attack as they approached the target.
A Lancaster exploded very fine on the port bow on the run-in to the target. It suddenly appeared – a huge ball of waves of fire rolling over each other and overtaking each other.
Wing Commander – 103 Squadron.
Around 2300hrs, the Lancaster approached the village of Philadelphia, Storkow, about 30km southeast of Berlin. The plane was already on fire at a height of 6,000 feet. It exploded and came down in a wooded area, north of the railway line, approximately 2km from the village.
All the crew members died in the crash and were buried in the local cemetery before transfer to the 1939-1945 Cemetery in Berlin.
Sergeant Walter Leonard Sargent’s grave is in Section 5, Row D, Plot 14-20 of the 1939-1945 War Cemetery, Charlottenburg, Berlin, Germany. In an unusual move, the headstone on Sargent’s grave makes reference to the RAF air bomber’s hometown of Rostrevor, Co. Down, Northern Ireland.