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Leslie Harold Clarke



  • Title
  • Forenames
    Leslie Harold AWMM
  • Surname
    Clarke AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
    Les Clarke AWMM
  • Service number
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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Wars and conflicts

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  • War
  • Campaign
    Atlantic, WW1 AWMM
  • Armed force / branch
    Navy AWMM
  • Service number
  • Military service
    Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve, before the war. AWMM
  • Promotions/ Postings/ Transfers

Military decorations

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  • Medals and Awards
    Mentioned in Despatches (MiD) AWMM
    The day prior to D-Day, Les commanded a gun boat sent to the Normandy coast to wait close inshore, in order to relay intelligence on any possible developments and to confuse the German radar while the main invasion force prepared for the landing. This was a most hazardous mission as he was right under the German coastal guns, in the middle of the German minefields and within easy reach of the German motor torpedo boats. (from The story of Les and Dorothy Clarke by Jolyon Firth, Pamphlet Collection) AWMM

Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
    Officer training at the Naval College, HMS Ganges, at Portsmouth, 1942. AWMM
  • Enlistment
    WW2 Unknown AWMM Manager AWMM
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment


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Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes

Last known rank

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  • Last rank
    WW2 1945 AWMM
    End of war AWMM
    Captain AWMM

Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • Les Clarke was the son of Robert and Blanch Clarke. After Auckland Grammar School he became an accountant and worked for Ford in Wellington. At the end of 1938 he was transferred to Te Kuiti to manage Te Kuiti Motors. He married Dorothy Margaret Mackenzie of Auckland in 1939.

    In 1941 Les was called up into the Navy. He topped his officer training class and was appointed to command a Fairmile motor gun/torpedo boat which defended English harbours and coastal convoys. He returned to New Zealand in 1945 to Captain HMS Hinau, a minesweeper based in Auckland.

    After the war Les continued in management with Ford until 1959. From 1963 to 1985 he was the Executive Chairman of the Australian Guarantee Corporation NZ Ltd. Les enjoyed yachting, rugby, boxing and later golf. He belonged to the Auckland Rotary Club, the Auckland Club, the Northern Club and the TGIF (Thank God Its Friday) luncheon club.

    Les and Dorothy had no children and left their house "Glen Oaks" and four acres at Bleakhouse Road in Howick to the Queen Elizabeth II Trust for the people of New Zealand. AWMM
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About death

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  • Death
    13 June 1996 AWMM
    Age 83 AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name

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  • External links
  • Documents
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