Charles Lexton

Signaller II, 224 Squadron
Service number 1314416
Died 20 Mar 1947
Commemorated on Runnymede Memorial
Age 23

Charles was born in 1923 in Bethnal Green, London to Polish born parents Nathan Leckstein and Netta nee Rose and had two younger siblings, Barbara and Michael. The family changed their surname from Leckstein to Lexton. Their father Nathan, came from a very large family and was one of ten children, of whom the first five were born in Poland before the family came to England. Nathan when he was seventeen, enlisted underage into the 2nd Middlesex Corps in WW1 and served on the Western Front. He was captured by the Germans on 24 April 1918 in Villers Bretonneux, reported missing on 25 June 1918 and was then released on 3 December 1918 when he then returned home to England. He then worked for his father as a cabinet maker and married Netta Rose in 1922.

Charles enlisted into the RAF and joined Coastal Command serving in 224 Squadron, a successful anti-submarine unit. On 20 March 1947 Charles was on board Lancaster SW290 of the joint anti submarine school from Ballykelly. The aircraft hit the sea 60m NNW of Malin Head, Donegal.

The Times newspaper reported on Saturday, March 22, 1947.
R.A.F. PLANE CRASH OFF IRELAND. Eight naval ships, including two destroyers and a submarine, searched all through yesterday for the survivors of an R.A.F. Lancaster which crashed about 50 miles out to sea north of Ireland just before midnight on Thursday. Three of the Lancaster’s missing crew of nine were picked up, two of them dying later. Late last night it was stated that there was no hope of finding further survivors, and the search was called off. The crash was reported by H.M.S. “Vengeance”, aircraft-carrier. The Lancaster was one of six on naval cooperation exercises operating from Ballykelly, 13 miles north-east of Londonderry.

Photo courtesy of Charlie Lexton
Belfast Telegraph