Pacific Wrecks
Pacific Wrecks    
  Missing In Action (MIA) Prisoners Of War (POW) Unexploded Ordnance (UXO)  
Chronology Locations Aircraft Ships Submit Info How You Can Help Donate
  Spitfire LF.VIII Serial Number A58-489 Tail UP-L
79 Squadron

Former assignments
3 AD
6 AD

Click For Enlargement
RAAF c1945
Pilot  W/O William Charles Leahy, 421683 (KIA, BR) Sydney, NSW
Crashed  September 22, 1945

Aircraft History
Built by Supermarine as a model LF (Low altitude) Mark VIII. Assigned Royal Air Force (RAF) serial number MT509. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia, arriving during July 1944.

Wartime History
Assigned Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) serial number A58-489. On July 4, 1944 received by 3 AD and reassembled. Next, assigned to 6 AD for temporary storage during June 10 - August 30, 1944. On November 1, 1944 assigned to 79 Squadron but did not begin service until December 6, 1944. On March 23, 1945 assigned code "UP-L". No known nickname or nose art.

On May 10, 1945 took off piloted by F/L Rumbold. During the combat mission over Doro village, damaged by anti-aircraft fire in the right mainplane at 2:30pm, but landed safely without injury to the pilot. Afterwards, repaired by 9 RSU and returned to the squadron on May 15, 1945.

Mission History
On September 22, 1945 one of six Spitfires that took off from Pitu Airfield on Morotai at 9:30am piloted by W/O William Charles Leahy on a test flight. This mission was after the cessation of hostilities with Japan. Owing to the failure of his section leader's radio, W/O Leahy took the lead from F/O Smithells and flew very low over Lake Galela in northern Halmahera Island. For reasons unknown, this aircraft was seen to strike the water, disintegrated and sank.

Recovery of Remains
After the crash, the Leahy's body was recovered by Japanese and turned over to an Australian Officer for burial at Makassar War Cemetery.

Leahy was officially declared dead the day of the mission. Later, his body was exhumed from Makassar War Cemetery and permanently buried at Ambon War Cemetery at grave 28. C. 14.

RAAFDB - William Woff Leahy
ADF Serials - Spitfire A58-489
CWGC - William Charles Leahy
Late Mark Spitfire Aces 1942-45 includes a photo of this aircraft in flight
Thanks to Daniel Leahy for additional information

Contribute Information
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?

Last Updated
June 29, 2019


Tech Info
  Discussion Forum Daily Updates Reviews Museums Interviews & Oral Histories  
Pacific Wrecks Inc. All rights reserved.
Donate Now Facebook Twitter YouTube Google Plus Instagram