Jump to content
Gentleman's Military Interest Club
Anthony Govender

WWII Group of Six to Officer in RM - Scarce Combination Stars

Recommended Posts

Hello Everyone

Here is a group of medals I have in my collection with a very rare combination of campaign stars to a South African officer attached to the RM.

1. France & Germany Star - 502 K.J Leslie

2. Burma Star - 502 K.J Leslie

3. 1939/1945 Star - 502 K.J Leslie

4. Defence Medal - 502 K.J Leslie

5. Africa Service Medal - 502 K.J Leslie

6. 1939/1945 War Medal - 502 K.J Leslie

Leslie, K.J., Lieutenant, 502, General Service Corps.............. Seconded to the Royal Marines.

(Ref: Forsyth & Bissett: South African Recipients of The France and Germany Star: Cape Town: 1986).

LESLIE Kenneth John. Corporal 502. Served in A Company, 1st Royal Natal Carbineers, WW2.

DOB : 7/1/1916

On strength : 17/5/1940, Premier Mine. Sailed on the S S Devonshire 17/7/1940 for Kenya

Religion : Church of England

NOK J. Leslie, mother, Belvedere, Andrews Street, Durban

SUMMARY OF SERVICE: LIEUTENANT K.J. LESLIE

Kenneth John Leslie was born on 7 January 1916, the son of Julia Mathilda Leslie of Kokstad. After matriculating in 1932, he became a lecturer by profession and was serving in a part-time capacity with the Royal Natal Carbineers from 1938. At the outbreak of World War Two, enlisted for full-time war service with the Regiment on 17 May 1940 with the rank of Corporal as a qualified Bren Gun Instructor. By September 1940, John Leslie had risen to the rank of Staff Sergeant and as a Special Linguist (Xhosa and Zulu), was attached to the 3rd Battalion, Native Military Corps.

By 2 July 1942, John Leslie was Commissioned as a temporary 2/Lieutenant in the General Service Corps, attached to the Native Military Corps as a Platoon Commander. On 2 January 1943, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant as was selected for the Officer’s Pool for attachment to the 6th South African Armoured Division. Leslie attended the 3” Mortar Instructors Course, at the South African Military College, qualifying as an instructor on 4 October 1943. His transfer came through and he departed the Union by sea from Durban on the S.S. City of London for the Middle East on 17 December 1943.

On 18 February 1944, he volunteered for secondment to the United Kingdom Forces. His secondment to the Royal Marines (HMS Saunders – Chatham Division) was approved on 21 February 1944. He qualified in the Beach Landing Craft and Coastal Navigation Courses in England before commencing operations.

As a Lieutenant in the Royal Marines, he operated with the Royal Marine Commando’s on raids into German Occupies France from 18 March 1944 and was also active in the operations in Normandy from July 1944 up to September 1944 before embarking for South East Asia for operations in Burma and the Akyab Peninsula from 29 May 1945.

Leslie remained in Burma until 17 October 1945 when he returned to Colombo, Ceylon. From there, he returned to the Union, ending his secondment to the Royal Marines on 28 October 1945. He received his Honourable Discharge from the Union Defence Force on 2 June 1946 and was transferred to the Officer’s Reserve. His last confirmation of residential address on the Reserve of Officers was dated 3 July 1970.

Regards

Anthony Govender

Edited by Anthony Govender

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Anthony and welcome to the forum.

You have an interesting group of medals with an even more interesting story behind it. You should be every please to have such a group in your collection and thank you for sharing it with the members.

Even though the order is not correct, if this is the way the recipient had them then it is probably best to leave them in this order, at least in my opinion. Odd that they would be mounted as such though.

Regards

Brian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you Brian, yes that's the way I got them and have not changed them around

Cheers

Anthony

And it would be a shame to change a thing.

Regards

Brian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Anthony

Many thanks for sharing a particularly fine group of WWII medals to a South African. Because of my own interests, I liked his connection with the Royal Natal Carbineers. Since he apparently went to East Africa with the RNC in 1940, I wonder if he would have qualified for the Africa Star? Also, for his long service on the Officer's Reserve, might he have been entitled to an award such as the John Chard Decoration? If you have not already done so, it would be worth contacting Izabel at the NC museum in Pietermaritzburg.

Regards

Brett

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Brett

His entitlement confirms that he did not get the Africa Star. I have sent Izabel a PM

Thanks

Anthony

Edited by Anthony Govender

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is a fantastic group indeed.... I assume France and germany and Burma are pretty rare when named to South Africans!

I would think so as well, Chris. It seems to me to be less common than someone with the Africa and/or Italy Star to have been sent off to fight against the Japanese. I do know it is more common to see an Indian group with the Africa and Italy Star along with the Burma but the European theater would have taken up much more time to complete.

It would be great to see mnore information of this officer's service.

Regards

Brian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anthony

Mac Bissett may be able to help with information on Leslie's RM service.

Regards

Brett

PS After giving the matter some thought, I decided that this group may well be unique to a South African. There is only a small chance that a SANF man seconded to the RN had the same combination.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

According to Wikipedia

"The 11th [East Africa] Division was composed of troops from Kenya, Uganda, Nyasaland, Tanganyika and Rhodesia... fought with the Fourteenth Army in Burma during the Burma Campaign... pursued the Japanese retreating from Imphal down the Kabaw valley and established bridgeheads over the Chindwin River. In 1945, elements of the division played a part in the Battle of Meiktila and Mandalay."

I wonder whether Leslie was posted to them on the [probably mistaken] basis that he would 'speak their language' or because of his familiarity with commanding African troops.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Athonthy

I am Kenneth Leslie's daughter and was obviously very interested to see your comments. I live in the UK but my older sister is in Durban. Please would you email me on julianorth@aol.com and I will forward you with her contact details. Our dad was later promoted to Captain - I had his captain's had and I have all his epulets etc. He had many great stories about various happenings during the war and is listed in the Who's Who of SA for 1945.

Many thanks

Julia Jean North (nee Leslie)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's amazing what comes out of this forum. All I can say is WoW. I am looking forward to communicating with Leslie's daughter.

Regards

Anthony Govender

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Anthony

Apologies for spelling your name incorrectly the first post. I was so excited to see the site I couldn't quite think straight. I'm looking forward to your email and will give you Isobel's cell phone number so that you can phone her. So wonderful to see the site. He was an incredible man and wonderful father and I grew up on his war stories. We sadly lost him in October 1977.

Please email me asap.

Kind regards

Julia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi All

The France Germany Star and Burma Star named to South Africans are very scarce commodities. If my memory serves me right only 450 South Africans received the France Germany Star. It is one of my research topics. I am not sure about the Burma Star, but will go and dig up some old notes. Have it somewhere.

Facinating group. To think the collector (Anthony) meeting up with the recipient's family on this forum. That is what make things worth it.

Regards

Norman :whistle:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Zhere are certain occasions that are great coincidences... especially when "non collectors" can see with what respect collectors treat "their men"...

I always think of the people whose items I have as "My guys"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Greetings

Went through my notes on the Burma Star. 1 932 Burma Stars were awarded to South Africans.

Just for info.

Regards

Norman :cheers:

Edited by NPGilbert

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×