Pic: Australian War Memorial
Flt Lt J F Leggo DFC
Lancaster serial number: ED909/G
Call sign: AJ-P
First wave. Third aircraft to attack Möhne Dam. Mine veered left after dropping and exploded at side of dam.
Jack Frederick Leggo was born in Sydney on 21 April 1916, the son of Frederick Henry Leggo and Leah Druce. He was brought up in Newcastle, New South Wales and went to Newcastle High School. He then worked as a bank clerk before joining the RAAF shortly after the outbreak of war.
Like many other Australians, he did part of his training in Canada. After qualifying as a navigator he arrived in England and was posted to 455 (Australia) Squadron, where he crewed up with Mick Martin in the autumn of 1941. Toby Foxlee and Tom Simpson joined Martin and Leggo in the crew over the next few months, and the fact that all four stayed together for almost two years illustrates the bond between them. In April 1942, 455 Squadron moved to Coastal Command but the four Australians transferred together to 50 Squadron, a heavy bomber squadron, and retrained on Manchesters and Lancasters. They completed a tour there, and then went off separately to various training units. Leggo received a DFC for his work on the completed tour.
When Martin was asked to join the new 617 Squadron, he brought his old team together as the core of the crew of AJ-P. Leggo was made the Squadron Navigation Officer, responsible for all the other navigators. His confidence on the operation can be seen in the steady hand with which he completed the navigation logs, a page of which can be seen below.
After the raid, for which he received a Bar to his DFC, he carried on flying with Martin for a while, but then he put in for retraining as a pilot. Martin supported him in this, praising him for his exemplary character, loyalty, conscientiousness, and devotion to duty. ‘No higher standard could be asked for,’ he added. Leggo qualified as a pilot and moved to 10 Squadron in Coastal Command, where he flew Sunderland flying boats for the rest of the war. Based in Plymouth, the double DFC is pictured below taking the salute as he leads a victory parade on VE Day.
Pic: Australian War Memorial
He returned to Australia after the war and went into the sugar industry in Queensland. He married Mary Best in 1947 and they had three children. After a successful business career he was knighted by the Queen in 1982. He died in Brisbane on 14 November 1983.
Extra research: Graeme Jensen
More about Leggo online:
Entry at ww2awards.com
Survived war. Died 1983.
Rank and decorations as of 16 May 1943.
Sources: Richard Morris, Guy Gibson, Penguin 1995
John Sweetman, The Dambusters Raid, Cassell 2002
Chris Ward, Andy Lee, Andreas Wachtel, Dambusters: Definitive History, Red Kite 2003
The information above has been taken from the books and online sources listed and other online material. Apologies for any errors or omissions. Please add any corrections or links to further information in the comments section below.
Further information about Jack Leggo and the other 132 men who flew on the Dams Raid can be found in my book The Complete Dambusters, published by History Press in 2018.