The Cross in the Heather

Fig. 1. Sergeant (later Flight Lieutenant) Leonard Arthur Warburton

On August 31st 1941 Sergeant Warburton was 2nd wireless operator/gunner on Wellington R 1703-J which participated in a 108 plane attack on Cologne. The plane was from the 101st Squadron based at Oakington, Cambridgeshire and commanded by Pilot Officer John Frederick Ashton, aged 22. The four other crew members were Sergeant Ernest Lane, Observer, Sergeant John Redden, wireless operator, Sergeant Robert Wood, second pilot, and Sergeant John Hutton, rear gunner.

Two hours after take-off the plane was shot down whilst returning from the raid by a German night fighter and crashed in flames onto a heath at Boxbergheide, near Genk in Belgium.