Leonard MURPHY
Rank: Sergeant
Number: 237023
Unit: 205th Squadron Royal Air Force
Date of Death: 16 September 1918
Age: 19
Cemetery: Arras Flying Services Memorial, Pas de Calais, France

Leonard was the youngest son of Robert and Elizabeth Murphy of Bloom Street, Edgeley (and, previously, 15 Fox Street). Unlike his older siblings who had been born in Manchester or Salford, he was born locally. Nothing else is known of his early life.

On the ground, the British attacks which had started at the beginning of August continued to press the German. They were not defeated, however, and were fighting every inch of the way. In the air, 16 September saw many British casualties as fighting became intense as German reconnaissance patrols tried to penetrate the air space above the advancing British Army.

There would be seven incidents involving planes from 205 Squadron alone. Leonard was the observer aboard the Airco DH4 two seater bomber, number D9250, piloted by 2nd Lieutenant F Anslow. They took off at 7.30am on a mission to bomb German positions at Busigny. Just over an hour later, they were seen to be in trouble with two enemy aircraft on their tail. Leutnant H Bohning of Jasta 79 would later claim the credit for shooting down a DH9.

Anslow must have been able to land the plane as he was taken prisoner but Leonard was dead. It is not known if he had been shot in combat or if the plane crashed, killing him.

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