joined the RAF in June 1939, as an engine fitter. In 1942 he volunteered for aircrew, as a flight engineer. He was subsequently posted to 50 Sqn at Skellingthorpe in Lincolnshire. The crew had completed 30 operations by January 1943. Les Knight was then requested to continue flying with his crew on Special Operations. This involved moving to Scampton, to form 617 Sqn. On the night of 16-17 May, Les Knight and his crew took part in the raid on the dams and were responsible for breaching the Eder Dam.
The crew continued on operations until September 1943, when trying to carry out a raid on the Dortmund Ems canal in fog, the plane was damaged and crashed. After ensuring his crew successfully bailed out, Les Knight remained on the aircraft and was never seen again. Ray spent the remainder of the war as a prisoner in Stalag Luft 3.