Leslie Harold AWMM
Also known as
Les Clarke AWMM
Date of birth
Place of birth
Address before enlistment
Unknown AWMM Te Kuiti, New Zealand AWMM
Post war occupation
Next of kin on embarkation
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
Officer training at the Naval College, HMS Ganges, at Portsmouth, 1942. AWMM
Occupation before enlistment
Age on enlistment
POW liberation details
POW serial number
WW2 1945 AWMM
End of war AWMM Captain AWMM
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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Leslie Harold Clarke
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