Leonard Weller, left, photographed with Lewis Burpee, probably in February/March 1943. [Pic: Burpee family]
Plt Off L G Weller
Lancaster serial number: ED865/G
Call sign: AJ-S
Third wave. Crashed on outward flight.
Leonard George Weller was born on 1 September 1915 in Edmonton, north London, the son of Arthur and Marian Weller. He worked as a toolmaker before the war, and was married with an infant daughter by the time he joined the RAF in 1940.
After training as a wireless operator/air gunner, he was eventually posted to 106 Squadron in early 1943. At 0040 in the early morning of 14 February his predecessor as wireless operator in Lewis Burpee’s crew, Flt Sgt Eddie Leavesley DFM, completed his second tour of operations, after a six hour trip to Lorient. Then, at 1830 the same day, the crew set off again on a ten hour operation over the Alps to Milan, with a new wireless operator on board, Len Weller. (Eddie Leavesley would survive the war, and earned a rare bar to his DFM for his second tour.)
This was the middle of a very busy period for Lew Burpee, his crew and 106 Squadron in general. A further ten operations would follow in the next four weeks, and Weller flew on them all. By the time the crew were transferred to 617 Squadron, he had been commissioned, so he now outranked his skipper.
More training followed, and early in the morning of Monday 17 May, Weller was in the crew of AJ-S as it set off on the Dams Raid. AJ-S was shot down at 0200, so the messages which Weller should have received at 0232 and 0233 went unanswered.
The body of Len Weller was one of the three which were positively identified by the Germans before it was buried in Zuylen Cemetery, Prinsenhage. Lewis Burpee and Gordon Brady were buried alongside, while the other four shared a communal grave. After the war the bodies of all seven were exhumed and reburied in Bergen-op-Zoom War Cemetery.
Rank and decorations as of 16 May 1943.
Richard Morris, Guy Gibson, Penguin 1995
John Sweetman, The Dambusters Raid, Cassell 2002
The information above has been taken from the books and online sources listed above, 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 Len Weller 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.