Friday, September 5, 2014

52 Ancestors #32 : RCAF: Leo Joseph Martin Broderick (1919-1943)

No Story Too Small has issued a New Year's Challenge: "Have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.”

This week's post is about my first cousin (2x removed) - RCAF Warrant Officer (Bomb Aimer) Leo Joseph Martin Broderick who was born December 22, 1919 and died seventy-one years ago today on 06 September 1943 at the young age of 24. Leo was reported as missing following air operations over Germany during WWII.

Leo's Service File
From my visit to the Library and Archives of Canada

My visit to the Library and Archives of Canada
RG24 24929
Leo lived at 718 Marentette Avenue, Windsor, Ontario. His father was Detective Leo Broderick (1879-1920) and his mother was Clara (Gignac) Broderick (1882-1973). Leo Jr. was only three weeks old when his father died in 1920.

Leo's parents Detective Broderick and Clara (Gignac) Broderick
Before enlisting in the RCAF Leo had attended De La Salle (1926-1935) and Windsor Technical school (1935-1938)

He had also worked at Lanspeary's Drug store, Hiram Walker and Coca Cola as a bottler; and the Ford Motor Company.

Leo Enlists To Become an RCAF Pilot

Leo enlisted in July 1941 applying for the air force as a pilot. He received training and promotions between 1941 to 1943 finally becoming a Warrant Officer (W/O) when he was killed. Leo's regimental number is 109822.

Leo Broderick's enlistment photo - over 6 feet tall!

Leo's enlistment papers requesting Air Force Duty
Flying duties preference: Pilot

Leo Joseph Martin Broderick  was sent overseas in September 1942. In November he was posted at RAF Castletown with the 102 Squadron. (Photo: RAF Castletown)

The 405 Squadron: Sept. 1943

 In August 1943 he was posted with the 405 Sqdn., Royal Canadian Air Force as a bomb aimer.  

Ground crew bombing up a Handley Page Halifax Mark II, “LQ-Q” of No. 405 Squadron RCAF, at RAF Pocklington, Yorkshire. Ground crews worked tirelessly and around the clock to ensure that the aircraft in their care were serviceable and armed. © IWM (CH 6609)

On Sept 5, 1943 at 19:25 Leo's plane left Gransden Lodge airfield, England on a mission of "bombardment" destined for Manneheim, Germany. There were seven men aboard the Halifax aircraft - the maximum for the aircraft. The plane crashed at Nussloch, 9 km SSE of Heidelberg, Germany. (reasons not known)

One man was injured: 
  • Sgt J.E.Vidler (Rear Gunner)
Three men were taken as prisoners of war: 
  • Sgt C.Hewitson 535857 RAF (Flight Engineer) 
  • Sgt R.Thomson 1550695 RAFVR (Navigator)
  • Sgt J.H.Briggs 1082027 RAFVR (WOp Gunner)
Three men were killed at the crash site at Nussloch (9 km SSE of Heidelberg) where they were originally buried until moved to Durnbach cemetery:
  • Sgt A.C.Brunton 658381 RAFVR(Pilot) 
  • W/O L.J.M.Broderick R/109822 RCAF (Bomb Aimer)
  • Sgt G.E.Agate 1391419 RAFVR (Mid Upper Gunner)
The Operations Room of RCAF No. 405 Squadron. 1941
Photo: National Defence Image Library RE 74-385

Page 140 from book Second World War
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Province of Ontario Death Certificate
156 Squadron website

Research LINKS:
Details from Lost Aircraft


September 2014: The following document was received with thanks from CWGC-Canada . It shows that the three who died in the crash (1943) were reburied later at Durnbach September 13, 1947.

Graves Concentration Report October 1947

In March 2015, I attended the Turning of the Page Ceremony to honour Leo Joseph Martin Broderick (1919-1943)


  1. My name is Mary Margarette Murray Pearson and I was born in Windsor, Ontario in 1955. Leo Joseph Martin Broderick was the brother is my grandmother, Mary Margarette Madeline Broderick Murray, and the uncle of my father, Donald John Murray (1930- ). My dad's bio-father is unknown; my grandmother was a single mother and later married John Charles Murray, of Windsor, who adopted my father at the age of 4 or 5. I just started researching my family history in a quest to find out who my grandfather is. Thank you for the wonderful research and photos. I have a great photo of Leo standing in front of his plane, but I don't know how to post it to your site.

    1. Thank you for the kind comments and I am so happy that you enjoyed this post. Pleas feel free to contact me at my email ( by using my name (cindiforeman)

      My post about Leo's father is here
      Leo's grandmother is here's grandfather is here
      And my grandmother (Broderick) is here

      I would love to post the picture of Leo with his plane on this blog post!

      How lovely to hear form you



    2. Hello Maggie

      The Turning of the Page Ceremony happens on March 24th and you can watch it online

  2. Hi, My name is Alec James Briggs, son of Wireless Operator James Henry Briggs, who flew on HR810 LQ-X 405 Sqdn with your Second Cousin LJM Broderick. In 2009 my partner Caroline and I went to visit Durnbach Cemetery to visit the last resting place of Leo, Alexander Cunningham Brunton and George Agate leaving a "white Rose" from their pal from Yorkshire who made it home after his time at L6. The reason he was seperated from the other POWs was due to many long periods in hospital to repair a badly damaged back, lower leg and foot and to treat the loss of his left eye. I have pictures of the headstones at Durnbach, in the snow, with the roses if you would like them. My father died on 10th January 1970 aged 49

    1. hello Alec
      Would love to connect by email. Contact me at cindiforeman(at)
      Cindi Moynahan-Foreman

  3. Hell again Alec, please contact me at the email above