Contributed by: Harvey Leslie, on 2008-11-08
|Year of Birth||1893|
|Year of Death||1964|
|Place of Wartime Residence||Elgin, Moray|
George Leslie 1893 - 1964
A junior officer who did his duty in both World Wars.
My father was born near Elgin in Morayshire in 1893. He was educated at Elgin Academy and trained as a banker after leaving school. When war broke out in 1914 he enlisted in the 1/6th (Morayshire) Battalion of the Seaforth Highlanders as a junior officer and went with the battalion to Bedford for training. They moved to France between 30 April and 3 May 1915 as part of the Seaforth & Cameron Brigade which then became the 152nd Brigade, part of the Highland Division (later the 51st (Highland) Division) and they were soon in action.
On 16th January 1916 the Machine Gun Corps was formed and my father became a founding member. He most likely returned to Grantham where the MGC was based for further training in machine gun tactics early in 1916 because he managed a short leave in Morayshire to visit his family before rejoining his unit, the 152nd Brigade MG Coy. The photograph published here was taken, with his three sisters, during that leave. A further reorganisation of the MGC took place on 19th February 1918 in which the individual Brigade companies were moved into divisional battalions his unit then became part of the 51 MG Bn.
Some time during the huge German attacks in late March 1918 along the BEF front defended by the 5th and 3rd Armies, of which 51st Division was part, my father was taken prisoner and spent the last eight months of the war in a POW camp, returning to the UK in early 1919.
My father would hardly ever talk about his war experiences so most of the above has been derived from other sources.
Later that year he resumed his banking career by joining the National Bank of India, serving at their branches in Bombay and Rangoon. He returned to the UK in 1935 because of a serious illness but was fit enough to rejoin the Army in 1939; this time as a Captain in the Army Pay Corps, based at York.
After WWII ended he bought a smallholding in Morayshire and, with my mother, ran it as a poultry farm, supplying thousands of eggs to the Ministry of Food Packing Station every week. He also worked, part-time, as a milkman and book-keeper for neighbouring farms.