Another installment in our 'Holgate Heroes' series.

Walter Leslie James

A MEMBER of an elite Reconnaissance Corps left his wife a teenage widow when he served on the front lines.

Walter Leslie James – known as Leslie – was born in Barnsley during the second quarter of 1924 and was the eldest of five children.

Originally attending Higham Church of England School, he left to become a pupil of Holgate Grammar School in September 1936, where he was an active member of the school’s football and cricket club.

When leaving school in 1940 he became a Co-operative Society Clerk, before enlisting only a few years later. He served in the Royal Armoured Corps, as a member of the elite 15th Regiment Reconnaissance Corps.

In 1944 when serving in Normandy he was severely wounded after a German sniper managed to throw a hand grenade into the armoured car he was travelling in, leaving him severely burned and hospitalised.

During this medical leave, Leslie married the young Hanna Agnes Corker when she was only 18 at St Mary’s Church, Barnsley on March 27, 1944.

Tragically, however, the two would never get to experience their first anniversary. Leslie lost his life on the front lines exactly a year later, leaving his teenage bride a teenage widow.

You can read the introductory article explaining the history around our Holgate Heroes here