Leon Asher Bassman

Flight Engineer, 550 Squadron
Service number 1423298
Died 4 October 1944
Buried Cardiff Jewish Cemetery
Age 22

Leon ‘Lawrence’ was born in 1922 in Cardiff to Russian born Henry and Lucy née Willett. He had one brother Hyman, known as Ivor, who also served in the RAF. His father was a cabinet maker and sales agent and he served in the British Army in WWI in the 9th Russian Labour Corps (1917-19). Leon attended St Illtyd’s school (1934-39) and the family lived at 31 Glynrhondda Street, Cathays.

He had served in the RAF for three years and was a flight engineer in 550 Squadron when he died on 4 Oct 1944 aged 22. He was on board Lancaster NF963 which was taking part in a training flight. The aircraft went into a steep dive and crashed at 23:05 hours on Stockdale Moor, North Yorkshire. The pilot S. H. Hayter managed to parachute to safety but was badly injured. The other six crew members were killed.

A/B, Robert Ranui Bradshaw, RNZAF, 4215727
A/G, James McVey, 1825292
W/Op, Arthur Joseph Pearce, 1816429
A/G, John Patrick Sheridan, 1826246
Nav, Thomas Yestyn Thomas, 154395

Leon is remembered on a plaque at Cardiff United Synagogue at Cyncoed Gardens and on the St Illtyd’s School Memorial plaque at St Alban on the Moor church.

Courtesy Martin Sugarman
Jewish Chronicle
Photo by kind permission of Cardiff United Synagogue