461st plaque

461st Bombardment Group (H)

Leonard H. Bathurst, Jr.

Leonard H. Bathurst, Jr.

Leonard H. Bathurst, Jr.


461st Bomb Group (H)

Len was born in Altoona, Pennsylvania on May 4, 1924. Following graduation from high school he served as an aircraft sheet metal worker at Olmstead Field, Pennsylvania and at Byrd Air Base in Richmond, Virginia prior to enlisting in the Army on March 6, 1943.

Following his basic training in Miami, Florida, he attended ordnance schools (weapons and ammunition classes) in Arcadia, California and Sacramento’s Air Base prior to being assigned to a newly formed B-24 Bomb Group in Mountain Home, Idaho.  His next assignment was with the 765th Ordnance Section of the 461st Bomb Group at Wendover, Utah, and then to Hammer Field, Fresno, California for the final overseas training phrase.

With the "Ground Echelon", he departed Fresno by train the evening of December 31, 1943.  After about a week on a train they arrived in Virginia where the 765th boarded a liberty ship, "George S. Hanley" for thirty-seven days at sea.  They made one stop in Sicily before arriving in Naples, Italy.

Len’s overseas assignments included repair, storage, servicing, and maintenance of all squadron small arms not assigned to aircrews or officers.  His primary "pre-mission" responsibility was to be available with last minute exchanges of any .50 caliber machine guns on board aircraft scheduled for the mission, and to provide assistance with any other ordnance services required for arming the aircraft with bombs, fuses, etc.  During the remaining hours of the day, Len spent his time maintaining and servicing weapons.

After leaving the military service Len enrolled at Pennsylvania State University.  After completing his work for a Bachelor of Arts degree and his teaching credentials, and a Master of Education degree, he taught in the public schools of Pennsylvania. While earning a Doctor of Education degree, Len taught at Penn State until the fall of 1954 when he accepted a faculty position at the California State University in Fresno, CA.  After teaching for forty-one years at CSU, Fresno, Len retired and began a new career in the financial industry.  On November 30, 2006 he decided to sell his business and retire permanently.

Len ad Lynn have been married since March 2, 1946 and have two children – daughter, Karen Wilcox, and son Stephen.  Although Stephen is deceased, his widow, Dawn, is still a very precious member of the family.  They have three grandsons – Brandon Leong, Brayden Leong and Skye Bathurst.