Leslie Beech

 

 

 

Just before Christmas of 2013 I was invited by Les to hear his story of his time during WW2.  I arrived armed with a folder with my questionaire as I usually do and I found myself sat in a comfortable chair surrounded by not only pictures of his family which he went on to describe everyone to me and was immensely proud of every one of them but of WW2 memorabilia. This was a man who was profoundly proud of what he had gone through. "Chasing and dodging Germans" he told me. I soon warmed to Les and it was as though I had known him for along time and I realised at the very start of our chat that there was no need for any scripted questions, no need for any gentle reminders, his mind was as sharp as a tack. I settled in for a chat that lasted 2 hours and he spoke non stop, at times we laughed, at times I winced but I knew I was in the company of one of East Yorkshires finest.

He spoke about being in North Africa when half of them including Les were to be shipped back to the UK, the rest stayed for the invasion of Sicily and he launched into the song "the D Day dodgers" and I smiled when he said they never had it so good they were on their holidays. He told me of Normandy and landing in the 2nd Wave on Sword Beach and the differences between the British and Canadian Landings and the American Beaches, "it was Monty's planning"  he said, I smiled once a Monty man always a Monty man, his men would of followed him anywhere. 

Les also became NCO in charge of the burial party at Ouistreham Military Cemetery and couldn't believe it some years later when he saw a picture of the cemetery landscaped and beautiful, a far cry from when Les and his men had placed bodies sewn into army blankets into the trenches.

The recording is long but you will enjoy and delight at the things that Les says and I enjoyed my few hours with him. Les died in February of this year 2014 aged in his 90's. Someone whom I shall always remember as he is remembered here.   When I get to Ouistreham Cemetery Les I will remember what you told me. Rest in Peace my friend - Andy

 

 

 

 

 Les middle of opened door

 

Les Rear middle

 

Les at rear third from right

 

Les pushing the Gentleman in the wheelchair

 

Les left

 

 

Rest in Peace my friend

 

Many thanks to Les' family for allowing to show his photographs.