NORMANDY veteran and Bournemouth builder Leslie William George Trim has died at the age of 92.
The son of Walter and Elizabeth Trim, Leslie was born in Westbourne, West Sussex. He had two brothers and a sister, all now deceased. The family moved to live in Kinson, Bournemouth, and then Moordown.
In 1943 at the age of 18 Leslie was called up for the army and was sent to Ireland for training where he rose to the rank of corporal before being demoted for fighting over a truck. On his return to England he joined the Royal Army Service Corps which he jokingly referred to as the 'Royal Army Skirt Chasers'. He then served in France driving the big Arctic lorry tankers and transporters for the 125 Volt Company.
On the day he went to France, his father was on board ship, his brother Wally was in the 7th Hampshire Infantry Regiment, also going to France by ship to fight on foot and his younger brother Rueben was training for the SAS. His cousins and uncles were also over there fighting.
"Wally left Portsmouth first and was on the first landing craft near Caen. Dad followed in July and his boat was kept back from the coast so previous boats could lay tracks to enable tankers and tanks to land safely. Dad's lorry was filled with artillery, food, supplies and ammunition. He saw people blown up and bodies in the water everywhere, it was like a big big blood bath. He was thrown into a ditch and was there for two days before he was rescued by the Americans. An army chaplain told him his brother Wally had been killed by a sniper and was given a letter to take home to his mum," said Caroline Bowers, one of his daughters.
Leslie was shipped back to England to convalesce for six months and was then shipped to the Middle East to keep the peace for three years with the 252 Patrol Transport Company.
"When dad came home, he joined the Merchant Navy and sailed on the Queen Elizabeth from Southampton to New York and then on the Queen Mary, again to New York, until 1957. On his return he joined the TA's Royal Signal Unit at Bournemouth as a driving instructor," said Caroline.
He then became a self employed roofer, builder and decorator, like other members of his family.
Leslie visited his brother Wally's grave on the 60th anniversary of the Normandy landings. Recently, he marched in his first veterans parade in Poole Park with his granddaughter to support Parkstone Sea Cadets and also received the Legion D' Honneur, France's highest award, for his war service.
Leslie passed away on April 5, on his 54th wedding anniversary, after a short, hard fought battle with cancer. His funeral was held at Bournemouth Crematorium on April 24. He is survived by his wife Di, children and grandchildren.