Leslie Charles Hounsell
m. 23/08/1944
Betty Joan Townsend
b 3/10/1920
 
27/06/1921 -15/02/1997
Gillingham
Depford
 
2 children
 
Roger Leslie
Lynn Joan
b. 29/041946
b. 04/05/1952
Rochford
Eastwood

 

Leslie was born in Old Brompton, half way between Gillingam and Chatham. The family then went to Longmor, Hampshire, where the Royal Engineers Railway depot was. The next posting took them to Petersfield, and it was here where Leslie started school. Next they moved back to 7 Borough Road, Gillingham and Leslie attended Napier Road school. They later moved to Nelson Road, next door to the dairy. When he was eight the family went to Egypt where his father was stationed. In his class at school was one of the daughters of King Farouk of Egypt, and another daughter also attended the school. They returned from Egypt when Les was 17. Their address was then 7 Pentland Avenue, Shoeburyness.

Les started a three-year apprenticeship to Arthur Carrol Johnson of Electricity Works, Southend on Sea, Electrical Engineer on 10th January, 1938. The Deed of Apprenticeship shows that his father, Reginald had to pay £50 per annum. He completed his three years as articled pupil on 1 February, 1941. At the outbreak of war he joined the Local Defence Volunteers, which later became the Home Guard.

Now a qualified Electrical Engineer he volunteered for the Navy on 26 March 1941, becoming an Electrical Artificer. He started off on shore in Pembroke and Vernon and by December 1941 was back in Egypt based on the Nile where they looked after the defence force in Alexandria harbour. In December 1943 he was on a depot ship, HMS Woolwich which they took down to Trincomalee in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). Here they transferred to HMS Frobisher which they took back to John Brown Shipyard at Clydebank for a refit and to have radar fitted. They took part in exercises for the D day landings. The Frobisher was one of the bombarding ships at Normany where they were torpedoed off the French coast on 8 August, 1944. As they managed to get back to Chatham, they got survivors leave, and it was during this leave that Leslie married Betty. He was later based at Scappa Flow and was back at Pembroke when he was demobbed. His papers had the following special remarks:- Keen conscientious, reliable, energetic. An excellent craftsman. Takes charge well and has good influence. Completely trustworthy.

Les was recalled from the Royal Fleet Reverve on 2 December 1952. He was stationed at Chatham where they got the ships out of mothballs for the Korean war. He was demobbed 25/03/1954, finally being discharged 21/03/1957.

Betty was a hairdresser and after they married they built a house in Eastwood, near Southend on Sea, Essex in the same road as Betty's parents.

After the war Les returned to Eastern Electricity as an Electrical Engineer and retired from there after 40 years service on 30 June 1978. He did not give up working altogether, and at one point managed a company in Guernsey for approximately two years, commuting home at the weekends either by plane or car ferry, then in the 80's he was the Electrical Consultant for two years on the building of the Eastgate Centre in Basildon.

Les and Betty had many interesting holidays abroad including visiting Egypt yet again, The USA, and China, and all the usual holiday spots in Europe.

Les now keeps busy helping out at the Royal Naval Association in Southend.