Humphrey de Verd Leigh

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Humphrey de Verd Leigh
Humphrey de Verd Leigh WWII IWM CH 13927.jpg
Born 26 July 1897
Aldershot, Hampshire, England
Died 6 June 1980(1980-06-06) (aged 82)
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch Royal Naval Air Service
Royal Air Force
Years of service 1915 – 1919
1939 – 1945
Rank Wing Commander
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Officer of the Order of the British Empire
Distinguished Flying Cross
Air Force Cross

Wing Commander Humphrey de Verd Leigh OBE, DFC, AFC (1897–1980) was a Royal Air Force officer. During the Second World War his idea for an anti-submarine spotlight for Coastal Command was developed and named the Leigh Light after him.

Humphrey de Verd Leigh was born in Aldershot, Hampshire, England on 26 July 1897. He entered the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) in 1915, serving in Mesopotamia (now Iraq) flying seaplanes for the relief of Kut, and went on to serve in the early Royal Air Force (RAF) 1918–19. Resigning in 1919 he went into business, working for many years in the Sudan in the Cotton industry. On the outbreak of World War II he rejoined the RAF in September 1939 and served on Personnel and Staff Duties, for Coastal Command from 1939 until 1945.

His successful development of the Leigh light, at his own volition and risk, and without approval of his senior commanders made a significant contribution to the Battle of the Atlantic, in 1942.

de Verd Leigh was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire on 1 January 1943.[1] He was awarded the Air Force Cross on 8 June 1941.[2] In 1954 he relinquished his wartime commission.[3] He died on 6 June 1980.


  1. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 35841. p. 14. 1 January 1943. Retrieved 27 July 2009.
  2. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36544. p. 2647. 8 June 1944. Retrieved 27 July 2009.
  3. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 40234. p. 4249. 20 July 1954. Retrieved 27 July 2009.

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