617 Squadron – Pilot Officer Leonard George Weller Died: 16/17th May 1943

after me the flood

On a roundel,
A plain wall fracted,
Three flashes of lightning,
From the breach, water rapids;
Aprés moi, le déluge
After me, the flood.

Operation chastise.
Dam is busted up,
Water swirling down,
Takes out the power ops.
After me, the flood.

A train with lights on,
The water engulfs.
Car races flood waters.
It isn’t fast enough.
Aprés moi, le déluge.

Ottley’s wing shears past,
With a violent patch of flak,
Burpee acts fast,
Dives away from the attack,
After me, the flood.

Billy gives em flak,
Fire sears the sky,
German gunners flank,
We’re hit! We fall, we die.
Aprés moi, le déluge.

Left a box of medals,
A cracked photograph,
A telegram, single mother,
And a distant epitaph.
After me, the flood.
Aprés moi, le déluge

No. 617 Squadron Lancaster III ED865 P:O. Leonard George Weller and Sgt. Thomas Jaye

Pilot: P/O. Lewis Johnstone Burpee D.F.M. J/17115 R.C.A.F. Age 25. Killed 

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Guy Pegler 573474 R.A.F.V.R. Age 21. Killed

Nav: Sgt. Thomas Jaye 1299446 R.A.F.V.R. Age 21. Killed

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. James Lamb Arthur R/11941625 R.C.A.F. Age 25. Killed 

W/Op/Air/Gnr: P/O. Leonard George Weller 142507 R.A.F.V.R. Age 28. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. William Charles Arthur Long 1600540 R.A.F.V.R. Age 19. Killed

Air/Gnr: W.O.2 Joseph Gordon Brady R/93554 R.C.A.F. Age 28. Killed 


Lancaster III ED865 AJ-S took off from Scampton at 00.11 hours as part of the third and final wave of Operation Chastise. Arriving safely at the Dutch coast, P/O. Burpee attempted to avoid the searchlights and flak, but the Lancaster was hit and caught fire, crashing onto the aerodrome at Gilze-Rijen, causing a massive explosion to the buildings.
All the crew were originally buried at Breda, since when they have been re-interred in Bergen-op-Zoom Cemetery.
The average age of this crew was 23.


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