London, Nov 15 : A Second World War airman who took part in the raids that led to the eventual sincking of the German warship Bismarck has died at the age of 93.
Les Sayer flew in a 120mph part-fabric Swordfish biplane that crucially damaged the 50,000-ton vessel, the most feared in the world with eight 15-inch guns.
According to The Telegraph, Sayer was a telegraphist air gunner on the plane flown by Lieutenant Percy Gick when they found the warship in the North Atlantic in May 1941 after Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill had ordered: "Sink the Bismarck".
In a night attack, Gick and Gunner Sayer were the only Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm crew to score a torpedo hit. Forty-eight hours later another Swordfish jammed Bismarck's rudder and the Royal Navy finished it off.
Last night, Sayer's widow Valerie, paid tribute to the former Barnardo's boy, who died on November 1.
"It was not something he would boast about. He remembered dropping the torpedo and hitting the Bismarck, causing an oil leak. But as they pulled away, the Bismarck couldn't hit them with her guns because they were so low, so they were putting shells into the water. One splash caused the fabric to split. So Les sat looking down at water," the paper quoted Valerie, as saying.
Sayer won the Distinguished Service Medal for the mission. After the war he spent more than 30 years in civil aviation and was awarded an MBE.