Thursday, June 13, 2013

Spitfire tribute to Middleton wartime pilot: Sergeant Allan Leaver-Ridings was flying Spitfire W3644 when he was shot down and killed over Devon on June 23, 1942


By Simon Thacker

13 Jun 2013 08:00


A spitfire pilot from Middleton, killed three weeks before his twenty-first birthday, is having a memorial installed in his memory.

Sergeant Allan Leaver-Ridings was flying Spitfire W3644 when he was shot down and killed over Devon on June 23, 1942.

Allan, a former pupil of Middleton Grammar School and North Manchester Grammar School, had been a trainee reporter for the Oldham Chronicle before the war.

A £6,500 replica of his Spitfire will be installed at Lytham St Annes, his mother Edith's home town on Saturday, June 21, two days before the 71st anniversary of his death.

Spitfire Display Team volunteer Lee Townsend said: “We've done quite a bit of research on him and apparently he was up against one of the top German aces – low on fuel and out of ammunition, so he didn't really stand a chance.

“We also know Allan's father William owned a shop in Long Street, Middleton between the Assheton Arms and Cemetery Street which sold toys, and he also owned a motor-repair shop in the 1930s.”

The memorial for RAF Fighter, Bomber and Coastal Command features a replica of the nine-metre plane posed as though swooping over a landscape. It commemorates the 5,886 airmen from coastal command killed in the Second World War.

Among the guests will be RAF veterans and Allan's niece, Anne Selka as well as John Coombes, Fylde Spitfire Memorial Fund chairman.


Story and Photo:  http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk

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