Sgt. Leonard Darnley arrived at 419 squadron after completion of the Byford crew’s
posting to No. 1659 CU at Topcliffe on October 9th 1943.
The other crew members were:
Pilot P/O A.J.O. Byford
Navigator P/O R.V. Daly
Bomb Aimer Sgt. F.W. Prentice
WAG Sgt. R. Tenny RAF
Air Gunner Sgt. L. Darnley RAF
F/E Sgt. A.L. Holden RAF
Combat Report Feb 15/16 1944
As Halifax JP204 entered the target area of Berlin, just eleven minutes prior to midnight the Monica radar system
gave warning of presence of a night fighter to the rear of the Halifax. With an air speed of just 165 mph.
the night fighter had a slow moving target in his sights with good visibility.
The first visible sighting of the attacker was by rear gunner Sgt. Leonard Darnley, seeing the dead astern
attack with the night fighter only 400 yards out and beginning his attack. Sgt. Darnley gave the order for
a corkscrew to starboard. While he gave this order his guns had already jammed after only a short burst of
only 50 rounds. The night fighter broke off the attack about 250 yards from JP204 leaving out of the port quarter
and then out of sight to the rear gunner. Sgt. Darnley gave the order to resume course and managed to clear the
stoppages in all four of the guns.
Although six fighter flares were seen to the rear of the aircraft during the attack no further passes were
made at the Halifax. Both the bomber and the fighter did not sustain any Damage.
Clearing a "Stoppage"
For the gunner to unjam, eject the shell and then reload the breech, he has a long bent metal rod to reach the source of the
stoppage all in the dark, in some cases while the aircraft is rolling around avoiding the night fighter.