A RESEARCHER and author is appealing for more information about the life of a World War II hero who flew 68 raids over Nazi Germany.
Warrant Officer Eddie Leavesley from Gamble Avenue in Windlehurst served as a wireless operator and air gunner during the war and was one of a select few to be awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM) with one bar.
Born on October 8, 1919, Eddie lived with his parents Joseph and Ada and four brothers.
All five went to Rivington Road School and were members of the school orchestra, later becoming bandsmen in the Salvation Army. With a strong interest in flying, Eddie joined the RAF in May 1939. While he was still undergoing his training Germany invaded Poland and war was declared on September 3, 1939.
By 1940 he had been promoted to sergeant and was posted to Lyndholme in Yorkshire.
His first operation in November 1940 was to bomb a power station in Mannheim and was the first attack on a German industrial centre by the RAF.
During his first tour Eddie would go on bombing raids on Berlin, Hamburg and Duisburg. He was also part of the squad that attacked battleships in Brest Harbour.
Having been awarded the DFM after completing his first tour, Eddie became an instructor training other pilots. But after a year he was keen on returning to an operational squadron and by 1942 he was stationed in Nottinghamshire.
He would complete another tour with this squad and was recommended for another Distinguished Flying Medal by Wing Commander Guy Gibson who led the Dambusters raid.
It was a distinguished military career that saw him carry out 400 hours flying time.
Eddie eventually returned home to St Helens and died in January 1986.
Simon Muggleton who is a member of the Orders and Medals Research Society has carried out an extensive examination into his life.
He said: “I have completed a lot of research but would welcome any anecdotes from your readers who may have known him or his family.
“I am also keen to know where he is buried or commemorated.”