Peter William LeFevre (Lefever) DFC 1918-1944

Peter was born in 1918 in Cambridge but his birth was registered in Canterbury (Canterbury 2a 1458 Jun 1918) Kent the son of Frederick Charles and Lilian Edith LEFEVRE nee Langford. Frederick Charles LEFEVRE was mayor of Canterbury but that is a story for another time. Lilian died when Peter was less than a year old in the flu outbreak of 1919 (Canterbury 2a 1677 Mar 1919). His father married Winifred M Blundell in 1921 (Canterbury 2a 2089 Jun 1921) and so he had a woman in his life.

Peter LeFevre
Peter William Lefevre (2nd from left)

In my research so far Peter’s early life was unremarkable being educated at Tonbridge School and subsequently at Pembroke College, Cambridge. He joined the RAF on a short service commission in March 1938 and was posted to 38 (some research says 46) Squadron in December 1938. He was involved in the first battle of that squadron in October 1939 off the north cost of Britain. His squadron was posted to Northern Norway in June 1940 and then later in 1940 he returned to Britain where he fought in the Battle of Britain. On 3rd September 1940 he was shot down in combat over Chatham and ‘baled out’ with minor injuries. In 1941 the squadron was posted to the Mediterranean and in May 1941 the squadron was serving on Malta and re-designated as 126 Squadron. On 10th October 1941 he was posted to command 185 Squadron, this post only lasted for a week and he then returned to command 126 Squadron. For his actions in the North Sea, the Middle East and the Mediterranean he was awarded the DFC on 12th December 1941[1].

Peter at far right with 46 Squadron at Stapleford
Peter at far right with 46 Squadron at Stapleford

He returned to the UK in December 1941 and served with 52 Squadron. Early in 1943 he was posted as Flight Commander of 129 Squadron and then in April 1943 he was given command of 161 Squadron. On 16th April 1943 he was shot down by ‘flak’ whilst escorting bombers to Brest. He was found by the French resistance and smuggled into Spain and then to Gibraltar and returned to the UK on 13th July 1943. He re-joined 616 Squadron on 11th August but shortly afterwards was posted to command 266 Squadron.

On 6th February 1944 whilst leading an attack on anti-aircraft guns at l’Aber-Vrac’h, Brittany he was shot down by ‘flak’ and baled-out but unfortunately was too low for his parachute to deploy (200 feet) and he was recorded as missing presumed killed, his body never being recovered from the sea.

Peter was a confirmed fighter Ace with 10 confirmed ‘kills’ [2,3]. He is remembered on the Runnymede Memorial on panel 200 [4].

lefevre2 runnymeade

Colin Spencer

Member 1005



Acting Squadron Leader Peter William LEFEVRE (40719), No. 126 Squadron. This officer has shown the utmost devotion to duty over a long period of operational flying, in which he has destroyed several enemy aircraft. He carried out over 250 hours flying on convoy patrols over the North Sea as well as participating in other operational missions. Squadron Leader Lefevre has participated in operations in the Middle East, and in July, 1941, he attacked an Italian E boat which was forced to surrender.



[3] Aces High: A Tribute to the Most Notable Fighter Pilots of the British and Commonwealth Forces in WWII  By Christopher Shores, Clive Williams

[4] Photograph courtesy of Stephen Daglish member 1110



Lost and Found

On Friday as usual Family Search updated their list of new records. As normal I took a look at the records see if there were any Lefever’s contained in the new recordsets.

William Lefevre One of the new recordsets was Utah, Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah, 1847-1868 on searching this set I found a ‘lost’ Lefever from Crowland in Lincolnshire. I already knew about William Lefevre, the son of John Lefevre and Ann Dalton, born in Crowland, Lincolnshire on 31st August 1833. His existence is mentioned on his father John’s memorial in Liverpool. This record on Family  Search also includes the photograph of William on the left side of this post.

William’s life, from what I have been able to piece together was both challenging and tragic. On 29th January 1849 aged 16 he emigrated from the UK to the USA, whist aboard ship in Liverpool waiting for a break in the weather his father John was taken ill and died on 26th January and was buried in Liverpool on the 29th, the day that the ship Zetland finally left Liverpool. The Zetland arrived in New Orleans on 1st April 1849 where William, his recently widowed mother Ann and sister Sarah and nephew Tom took passage on the steamship Iowa to St Louis where they arrived on 13th April. The story of the voyage is documented on the Mormon Migration website.

The family were all present in St Louis during the cholera outbreak in the summer of 1849. His nephew, sister and mother were all victims of the outbreak unfortunately Sarah did not recover and was one of the 4,500+ victims in a city of around 75,000.

So far I have found that William married Hannah and dies on 3rd March 1920 in Panquitch, Garfield, Utah, USA. I have yet to find any more of William’s life story, how he went from St Louis to Utah and how he became a pioneer of that state. So I still have plenty of research to do about him.

More UK data added

After a couple of months doing other things I have just added another 67 records to the UK dataset.

A friend recently visited Devon and Wiltshire record offices doing some personal research and whist she was there she tracked down some Lefever records for me. As a result of the records she sent me I was able to create some more families and tie down a couple of strays that I had. Thanks to Kirsty Gray from Family Wise for getting these new records for me.

New country added – India

I found some data on births in India. These were British expatriates living in India during the 1800’s into the early 1900’s.

What I was expecting to find was a lot of births to British Servicemen who were serving in India but it turned out that most of the children who were born did not have fathers in military service.

There are a total of 27 individuals added so far and I have a similar number of records still to enter into my database.

UK data cleanup

I was recently contacted by a Lefever descendant who lives in Canada. He passed on copies of some birth certificates of his UK ancestors. I had a certain amount of information already about his ancestors but this added some more significant clues to this particular family.

As a result I did some focussed research on this family which resulted in adding over 50 new records to the dataset BUT more importantly it allowed me to get rid of some duplicate entries.

Initial research indicates that we may be very distantly related through a common ancestor born in the early 1700’s. There is a lot more work to do before I can positively prove this though.

I store all the data that I find in my research and sometimes this is only a rough date and place for an event. It is clear that I may have data for the birth of a person, details of a marriage and death details. If I have found these as a result of separate research then they can be recorded as 3 entries. It is only when I can positively tie the three events to one individual that I can amalgamate the records and de-duplicate the data published here on the site.

My thanks to Ed for passing on these details and helping me to rationalise the database.

Bristol UK records added

I found 13 records that I hadn’t already got on Family Search for two families of Lefevre in Bristol in the early and mid 1800’s. I have added these records to the UK database. On searching for these families in the UK census for 1841 to 1891 I have so far only managed to find one of them in the 1881 and 1891 census. I wonder where the others are, transcription errors or what? I will have to do some more searching for them.

I had contact today from someone researching their Lefevre ancestors. I found this ancestor in my list and have a fairly complete tree of his descendants from 1796 onwards which I have passed on to the enquirer. It is rewarding when you are able to pass information on to a fellow researcher.

New country added – Denmark

After a bit of time off at the end of 2013 I have just updated the website with the first of the records that I have found for Denmark.

I have added details for 11 marriages and 22 individuals, 2 of whom married twice.

I hope that 2014 will give me more time to continue my research.

US and Italy data update

I have tracked down a few more records and added them to the datasets on the website.

There are an additional 45 person records in the US dataset mainly marriages in Alabama.

There are an additional 11 person records in the Italian dataset from various areas and of various types.

I have found some more UK and Australian records and will be adding those over the coming days.

Swiss records added

Following on from yesterdays success with finding some Spanish records I also found some Swiss ones.

I have added 17 individuals to the new Switzerland page. There are some births and some marriages. I now need to see if I can find some more Swiss and Spanish ones.

More Spanish records added

Following yesterday’s success of finding one Spanish record to start my Spain country study I found an additional 111 individuals who I have now entered into the Spanish database.

I have found a mixture of birth, marriage and census records. Virtually all of these records list the names of the subjects parents and so in some cases I managed to track an additional generation.

The unusual thing about Spanish surnames is that children inherit both parents surnames in they then are included in the surname of the child, one as the first surname and one as the second surname. This also makes tracking people down so much easier and also really aids family reconstructions.

One interesting record I found was that of a lady of 66 years old marrying a man of only 46 years of age. This took place in 1883 so it looks like ‘Toy Boys’ were know long before the current era.

The most common variant of the surname in Spain from these records is Lefebre.