|On May 1939, the King and Queen were making an official visit to Canada. One of the ships escorting the Royal Family was H.M.S. Glasgow, on which Leslie served as a Telephanist/Gunner one of the two 'Walrus” aircraft carried by the Cruiser. During an exercise whilst in Canadian waters, the plane Leslie was flying in crashed, whilst trying to land alongside H.M.S. Glasgow. The pilot was thrown some distance from the plane and was in obvious difficulties. The Captain of the Glasgow reported that Leslie left the comparative safety of the overturned floating plane to swim out and rescue the pilot. He managed to drag the pilot back to the plane and both were picked up by Glasgow, but the effort of saving the pilot had been too much for Leslie, and he died one hour later. He was buried at sea with full Naval Honours. He was 22 years old.
Leslie's brother Alec served on H.M.S. Glasgow, during the war, as did Rev. Lippiett, who conducted the memorial service for Leslie at Little Thetford Church, as he was at that time Precentor of Ely Cathedral.
The photograph below, which was given by his brother Alec, is the only picture of Leslie he had. He is outside his house on the A10, the 'Corner House” in 1938.
Private 5835326, 5th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment, died in captivity Sunday 27th June 1943, aged 23, buried : Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, Thailand. Son of Laura Yarrow, of Little Thetford, Cambridgeshire.
Before the war Alfred worked for farmer Randall across the River Ouse, which he crossed every day in a rowing boat.
Stanley Arthur James (Jim) Cornwell
Stanley Arthur Cornwell , known as Jim, was 15 when this photo was taken. It was the year before he joined the navy. HMS Warspite was attacked off the coast of Italy on 16th September 1943 when Jim was 19. Nine people were killed and fourteen wounded. Jim was one of the wounded, but he died in the RAF Hospital in Ely in 1944 and was buried (in an unmarked grave) in Little Thetford cemetery in 1944. His father was missing in action at the time, but was later reunited with his family only to die at home at 2 Green Hill Little Thetford of a heart attack in 1953. He was buried beside his son.
He was the second son of 6 boys and 3 girls of Winifred Ellen and Edmund Stanley Cornwell. Buried Little Thetford Cemetery directly opposite war memorial. His father served in Cambridgeshire Regiment.
Henry A. Presnell
Ordinary Seaman, HMS Grenville, died 2nd October 1951. aged 19. Youngest son of Mrs. E. Presnell, Council Houses, Little Theford. HMS Grenille was being used as an air training target vessel and was in collision with the Italian steamer Alceo, off Start Point, Devon. Three crew men on the Grenville died and four were posted missing. His name is not on the Memorial in the Cemetery.
Henry Presnell (on the left) at Corn Brook, Newfoundland, 1949
Information on the last three people is from www.roll-of-honour.org/Cambridgeshire/LittleThetford.htm.
|The Three Horseshoes Public House was a popular destination for airmen from Witchford Aerodome
Sitting at the front Harry Markham. Sitting behind from left to right airman, airman, Edna Markham, airman, Sharne (from Witchford), Jack Royal. Standing left to right Mrs Markham, Airman, Mrs Liz Presnell, Airman, Violet Markham, airman, unknown, Mrs Ginny Royal, airman, Rose Royal, airman.