Leslie Arnold (Les) KING

KING, Leslie Arnold

Service Number: SX7917
Enlisted: 5 July 1940, Adelaide, SA
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 2nd/48th Infantry Battalion
Born: Port Adelaide, South Australia, 19 September 1918
Home Town: Meadows, Mount Barker, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Labourer
Died: Died of wounds, Egypt, 2 November 1942, aged 24 years
Cemetery: El Alamein War Cemetery
Plot AIII Row D Grave 14.
Memorials: Adelaide WW2 Wall of Remembrance, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Meadows War Memorial, Prospect Hill War Memorial
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World War 2 Service

5 Jul 1940: Involvement Private, SX7917
5 Jul 1940: Enlisted Adelaide, SA
5 Jul 1940: Enlisted Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Private, SX7917, 2nd/48th Infantry Battalion
Date unknown: Involvement

‘Resting Until Reveille’

Leslie was born at Port Adelaide on the 19th September 1918 to Lawrence Alfred and Annie Elizabeth King. He was one of nine children with five brothers Ken, Colin, Brian and Barry and four sisters Rita, Gwen, Marjory, Coral. The family lived in Meadows South, a small town in the Adelaide Hills.
Post school, Les worked as a labourer, where he met the very vibrant Betty Watson. She was a young woman particularly successful in all aspects of elocution competitions, in several different categories including humorous and non-humorous recitals, competing at Ballarat and Adelaide in the Centenary Eisteddfod of ’36, the Girl Guides Association and Adelaide Musical and Literary Competitions. The two became engaged prior to Leslie being deployed to the Middle East.
21-year-old Les was one of the early enlistees on the 5th July 1940 and was given the number SX7917. He was allocated to the newly formed 2/48th Battalion. His early days were spent in the Motor Pavilion of what is now the Royal Adelaide Showgrounds where his ‘bed’ was straw filled hessian on wooden pallets. The battalion then trained in the Adelaide Hills before they had brief pre-embarkation leave. The young men finally boarded the Stratheden for the Middle East, in November, arriving on the 17th December, then marched to a Staging Camp. During those early days, besides regular army duties was the need to quickly adapt to the locals. Within months, the 2/48th Battalion was involved in intense conflicts where their reputation for being the most highly decorated but decimated battalion was earned. Tom was to become one of the respected and famed Rats of Tobruk.
Almost immediately, Les was graded as a Group II Signaller. By July ’41 the desert conditions contributed to Les contracting an extremely high temperature called Pyrexia of Unknown Origin (PUO) and having brief time in hospital in Dimra. Whilst Les’s homelife had seen very cold winters, snow was not a component, however as a fit young man, he was detached to the 1st Australian Corps Ski School at the end of January ’42, before returning to his own battalion in February.
On the 2nd November ’42 24 year old Les died of the wounds he sustained in the fierce fighting to seize Trig 29, a key location in the Battle of El Alamein. John Glenn in Tobruk to Tarakan painted an image of those days. ‘The troops had never been more tired. Yet, notwithstanding the fact that they had not slept for three nights, all were grimly determined to put everything they had into the fight to hold what had been won. Their spirits were high. All-round teamwork, cooperation, and an eagerness to be dug in by dawn caused every man, irrespective of rank or his particular task, to throw his whole weight behind the battalion.’ Heavy fighting helped capture this feature, but the challenge was in ‘digging in’ to the rocky ground. Glenn added ‘The 2/48th had stirred up a real hornet’s nest; from first light until nine o’clock, the enemy turned all their fury on the Trig area, with particularly heavy fire on 29 itself, hiding the position in dust and smoke.’
Back home, the November issue of the Advertiser carried Les’ photo and the report that ‘Mr. and Mrs. King have been notified that their son, Pte. Leslie King, 24 died of wounds in the Middle East on November 2. He served in Tobruk, Libya and Egypt.’ Similarly, the Southern Argus reported that ‘Advice has been received by Mr. and Mrs. L. King,of Prospect Hill, that their son, Leslie, 23 years of age, has been killed in Egypt. This young man, who lived and enlisted from Meadows, was spoken of very highly by returned men.’
The Chronicle at a similar time painted a raw image of the extensive effects on the 2/48th Battalion. Killed in action were SX8468 Pte. Patrick H. Hoare, North Broken Hill (NSW); SX13570 Pte. Charles Holman, Broken Hill; SX7771 Pte. Henry O. Lohmann, Murray Bridge; SX6848 Cpt. Alfred F. Meyer. Renmark: SX3149 Col. Arthur H. Peters, Macclesfield; . SX11768 Pte. John R. Smith, Wardang Island; SX13535 Pte. Allan L. Thessinger, Jamestown. Died Of Wounds SX7917 Pte. Leslie A. King, Adelaide. Wounded In Action.— SX7830 Cpl. Kingsley G. Albrecht, Kingston-on-Murray: SX10571 Pte. William G. F. Barnett, Reedy Creek : SX8128 Pte.- Ivan G. Braidwood, Adelaide; SX8749 Pte. K. W. Dack, Med., Clare; SX7559 Pte, Maxwell. C. Fuss, Kimba; SX13602 Pte. George H. G. Gallagher. Paulco Station; SX12854 Pte. Sydney V. Goodes. Curramulka; SX8483 Pte. William T. Harris, Caltowie; SX10527 A-Cpl. Harold E. Hobbs, St. Peter; SX8497 Pte. Charles H. Lawrie, Naracoorte; SX7959 Pte. Edward Lehmann, Lameroo; SX7028 Pte. Murray V. McFarlane, Cobdogla; SX7721 A-Cpl. Hedley H. Pratt, Korunye; SX7244 Pte. Richard Ramsdale, Meadows; SX11154 Pte. R. F. Reed, Cummins; SX11152 Pte William Reed, Cummins; SX8366 S-Sgt. William W. Statton, Alberton; SX7933 Cpl. Walter H. Stewien, Verdun; SX8576 Pte Arnold R. Thomas, Campbelltown; SX11289 Pte. Keith W. Tilmouth, Cleve; SX7278 pte. Robert Tipper, Berri; SX13755 Pte. Eric M. Waye, Victor Harbor; SX7212 Pte. T. L. Woodall Exeter; SX10514 Pte. Allan. W. Wylie Sefton Park.
Initially Les was buried at El Alamein, until on the 20th March ’45 those who had given their lives were re-interred in the El Alamein War Cemetery, Matruh in Egypt. Nearby Leslie’s grave is 24-year-old WX201 Lieutenant Beverley Y. Hamilton of Fremantle, from Les’ 2/48th Battalion as well as those from the 2/2nd, 2/3rd, 2/13th, 2/17th, 2/28th and 2/43rd. Les now rests in Plot AIII Row D Grave 14. His family chose the inscription ‘Resting Until Reveille’ for his headstone.
Les’ medals were posted to his mother in February ’53. They included the 1939/45 Star, African Star with 8th Clasp, Defence Medal, War Medal and Australian Service Medal.
In the following years, Les’ fiancée Betty, his family and friends continued to remember Leslie on the anniversary of his death.
Advertiser Tuesday 17 November 1942, KING.—In sacred memory of our darling boy Leslie, who paid the supreme sacrifice on November 2. Never to be forgotten by mum, dad, Ken, Colin, Brian, Barry and Gran. With so much to remember, oh. how can we forget? KING.—A loving tribute to our darling brother. Les., who passed Into God's care on Nov 2. Ever dear to Rita, Gwen, Marjory, Coral and loving friend Betty. KING.—A. loving tribute to Pte. Leslie King, died of wounds. Egypt Nov. 2 1942 dearly loved friend Mr. and Mrs. H Watson. Jack and Allan. KING.—In loving memory of my darling Leslie, died of wounds In Egypt, Nov. 2 1942. Too dearly loved to ever be forgotten.—lnserted by his loving fiancée. Betty Watson, Mt. Compass.
Advertiser Tuesday 2 November 1943, KING.—In proud and loving memory of my fiancée Les, died of wounds. El Alamein, November 2 1942. Links of steel may rust and sever, but links of love will last forever. —Remembered always by fiancée. Betty Watson. KING.—In memory of Les, paid the supreme sacrifice. El Alamein. November 2 1942. Deep in our hearts a memory is kept, of one we loved and will never forget.—Remembered by Mr. and Mrs. Watson, Allan. KlNG.—Loving memory of dear Les, died of wounds. El Alamein, November 2 1942. To be with us In the same old way. is our dearest wish today.—Remembered by his pals. Jack and Audrey. KING, Sig. L. A-ln memory of our Leslie. died of wounds at El Alamein on Nov. 3. 1942. Resting, waiting for reveille. —Remembered by dad, mum, gran, and brothers. Ken, Colin, Brian and Barry, Prospect Hill, via Meadows. KING.—In memory of our brother. Leslie Arnold, who gave his life at El Alamein on Nov. 2 1942. To have you back in the same old way would be our greatest wish today.—Remembered by sisters Rita, Gwen, Marjory and Coral. KING.—A solemn tribute of deep regret. We bow our heads to the memory of Pte. Les King, who made the supreme sacrifice at El Alamein, Nov. 2. 1942-—Rita and Jim.
Advertiser Thursday 2 November 1944, KING. —In loving and sacred memory of Les. who gave his life at El Alamein on November 2, 1942. our memories are an evergreen garden.—Ever remembered by brothers and sisters, gran, dad and mum. KING.—In proud and loving memory of my beloved fiancée Les. died of wounds, El Alamein. November 2. 1942. Till memory fades and life departs, you will live forever in my heart.—Sadly missed by Betty Watson. KING. —In loving memory of our dear friend, Les. died of wounds. El Alamein. November 2 1942. The road we call remembrance, where thoughts and wishes meet: we take that road in thought today, to one we cannot meet-—Always remembered by Mr. and Mrs. H. Watson. KING.—In memory of my pal Les. died of wounds in El Alamein. November 2. A tender chord of memory is gently touched today.—Always remembered by Allan Watson. KING. —A token of remembrance for the loss of Pte. Leslie King, of Prospect Hill, via Meadows (pal of Cec). who gave his all at El Alamein, November 2. 1942.—inserted by Jermyn family.
Advertiser Friday 2 November 1945, KING. SX7917 2/48th. —In loving memory of Les, died of wounds. El Alamein. Nov. 2. 1942. He lives with us in memory still. Not just today, but always will. Ever remembered by mum. Dad, gran and brothers Barry and Brian. KING. In memory of dear brother Les who died of wounds. El Alamein. Nov 2. 1942. A brother and pal, both good and true. He gave his life for me and you. —Always remembered by Ken and Colin. KING —In loving memory of our dear brother Les. who died Nov. 2. 1942, at El Alamein. Not gone from memory, not gone from love. But gone to a better land above. —Fondly remembered by sisters Gwen, Marjory, and Coral. KING.—In loving memory of deal brother Leslie died of wounds. El Alamein, Nov. 2. 1942. Deep in our hearts there's a picture. More precious than silver and gold; Tis a picture of darling Leslie, Whose memory will never grow cold. —Sadly missed by Rita, Jim and Lesley Kelly. KING In loving memory of my darling Leslie, died of wounds. El Alamein, Nov. 2, 1942. Memories are treasures no one can steal, death leaves a heartache no one can heal.—Ever remembered by Betty. KING —In loving memory of dear Leslie, died of wounds at El Alamein Nov. 2. 1942. His life a beautiful memory, his absence a silent sorrow.—Fondly remembered by Mr. and Mrs. Watson. KING.—In loving memory of my pal Leslie, died of wounds at El Alamein Nov. 2. 1942 Deep In my heart a memory Is kept, of a pal so dear I will never forget.—Ever remembered by Allan Watson. KING—A tribute to the memory of Les (pal of Ceci) who paid the supreme sacrifice at El Alamein Nov. 2, 1942. We remember. —Inserted by Mr. and Mrs. K. E. Jarmyn, Crystal Brook.
Advertiser Saturday 2 November 1946, KING, 2/48th Batt., 9th Division.—In memory of Les, died or wounds. Nov. 2, 1942.—Remembered by Jarmyn family. KING.—In loving memory of Les, 2/48th Btn. who died at El Alamein Nov. 2 1942. We miss him most, who loved him best.—Always remembered by dad, mum, and gran. KING.—In loving memory of dear Leslie, died of wounds. El Alamein. Nov. 2, 1942. We have lost, heaven has gained, the dearest brother this world contained. —Ever remembered by Rita, Jim and niece Lesley. KING.—In loving memory of Les. who died Nov. 2 1942. Alone and unseen he stands at our side: he whispers. "Don't grieve, dears, death cannot divide. — Remembered by Coral, Marjory and Gwen. KING.—Loving memories of Les. died of wounds Nov 2. 1942. He lies across the ocean, among Australia's brave.—Inserted by Barry, Brian, Colin and Ken. KING.—In loving memory of my dear Leslie, died of wounds El Alamein Nov. 2. 1942. Till memory fades and life departs, you will live for ever in my heart. —Ever remembered by Betty. KING.—In loving memory of Leslie, died of wounds. El Alamein. Nov. 2. 1942. A leaf in our book of remembrance is gently turned today; beautiful memories are all we have left.—Always remembered by Mr. and Mrs. Watson. KING.— In loving memory of Les. killed in action at El Alamein on November 2 1942. You were not spared to see the peace, in the country yon helped to save: but our thoughts go out to you dear Les. where you lie in a hero's grave.—Ever remembered by Jack and Audrey.
Advertiser Tuesday 2 November 1948, KING.—In loving memory of Les. killed in El Alamein, 1942. Time passes on but loving memories will for ever stay.—Always remembered by Mr. and Mrs. H. Watson and family. KING.—Fond memories of Les who died at El Alamein, Nov. 2, 1942. I’m so proud to call you brother. — Ever remembered by Colin. KING.—In loving memory of Les, died of wounds. Nov. 2. 1942.—Ever remembered by his brother Ken. KING. 2/48th Batt.—ln loving memory of Les. who paid the supreme sacrifice Nov 2. 1942. —Ever remembered by the Jarmyn family. Crystal Brook. - KING.—In proud and loving memory of dear Leslie, died of wounds, El Alamein. Nov. 2, 1942. Time passes on but loving memories forever stay.—Always remembered by Betty. KING.—In loving memory of dear Les. died_ El Alamein. Nov. 2. 1942. - No one knows how we miss him. that we seldom look sad.—Always remembered by Rita-. Jim. Lesley and Peter. KING. —Loving memory of Leslie who died at El Alamein. Nov. 2. 1942. —Always loved, still missed, by his loving gran. KING.—In loving memory of Leslie who died of wounds at El Alamein. Nov. 2, 1942. The garden of memories in which he dwells will be forever green.—Always remembered by mum, dad, Barry and Coral. KING.—In fond memory of Les died of wounds at El Alamein. Nov. 2. 1942. A beautiful nature and heart of gold; no finer brother the world could hold.—Ever remembered by his loving sister Marjory. KING.—In memory of Les. died of wounds, El Alamein. Nov. 2. 1942. God will link the broken chain, as one by one we meet again.—Remembered by brother Brian. KING.—In memory of my dear brother Les, who died at El Alamein. Nov. 2. 1942. A tender chord of memory Is sweetly touched today.— Inserted by his sister Gwen.
Advertiser Wednesday 2 November 1949, KING.—In loving memory of Les pal of Cec. who paid the supreme sacrifice at El Alamein. November 2, 1942.—Always remembered by Mr and Mrs. Jarmyn and Yvonne. KING.—In loving memory of brother Les, passed away El Alamein. November 2, 1942. A thought for today, a memory for ever. —Sadly missed by Gwen. KING.—In loving memory of my brother Les, passed away El Alamein November 2, 1942. We miss you Les. we always will But in our hearts you are with us still. —Always remembered by Marjory. KING.—Cherished memories of Les died of wounds. El Alamein. November 2, 1942. He lives in hearts that loved him dearly. —Ever remembered by dad, mum, gran, Coral and Barry. KING.—In loving memory of Leslie, passed away El Alamein. November Two little words, not hard to write. Two I'll remember all my life my brother. —Sadly missed by Rita and babies, KlNG.—Memories of brother Les, died of wounds. El Alamein, November 2, 1942. A smiling face, a heart of gold, A memory that will never grow old —Ever remembered by Colin. KING.—In memory of Les, passed away El Alamein, November 2, 1942. Just a token, true and tender. To show we still remember. —Always missed by Brian. KING.—In memory of Les, died of wounds, El Alamein. November 2, 1942. Years may dawn and fade away. But memories of you will always stay. Remembered by Brother Ken. KING.—In fond and loving memory of dear Les, died of wounds. El Alamein. Nov. 2, 1942. A thought for today a memory for ever.—Always remembered by Betty. KING.—In fond and loving memory of dear Les, died of wounds. El Alamein. Nov. 2, 1942. Deep in our hearts your memory we keep.—Always remembered by Mr. and Mrs. Watson, Jack and Allan.
Advertiser Thursday 2 November 1950, KING. — In loving memory of Les D.O.W., El Alamein. November 2 1942. To the world he was just one; To us he was the world. —Mum, dad, Coral and gran.
Heroes Of The Empire KING. — In fond memory of Les. D.O.W., El Alamein. Dearer to us than one can tell, Was the brother we lost and loved so well. —Remembered by sisters Marjory and Gwen. KING. —In memory of Les. D.O.W., November 2, 1942. As you rest in peaceful sleep Your memory we will always keep. —Always remembered by Colin. KING. —To show I still remember, Les. died El Alamein. November 2, 1942. No matter what the years may bring, Loving memories always cling. —Brother Brian. KING. — In honored memory of Les. died. El Alamein. November 2, 1942. —Unseen, unheard, but not forgot-ten by Rita. KING. —In memory of Les, died of wounds. November 2, 1942.—Al-ways remembered by Jarmyn family. KING, Les, of 2nd 48th Batt. A place is vacant in my heart Which never can be filled. —Not forgotten by Barry. KING. — In loving memory of Les, killed. El Alamein. November 2, 1942. Time moves on but memories stay. —Ever remembered by Betty. KING. — In loving memory of Les, killed. El Alamein. November 2, 1942. God's greatest gift — Remembrance. —Always remembered by Mr. and Mrs. Watson.
Advertiser Friday 2 November 1951, KING.— In loving memory of Les died at El Alamein. November 2. 1942. Dearer to us than one can tell. — Remembered always by mum, dad, sisters, brothers and gran. KING (2/48th). —In loving memory of Les. who gave his life at El Alamein. November 2. 1942. A thought for today, a memory forever, Always remembered by bis sisters Gwen and Marj. KING.— Cherished memories of Leslie. D.O.W.. El Alamein. November 2. 1942. Nine years hare gone, but do I forget? No! dear brother. I miss you yet. —Rita. KING. — In loving memory of Les. killed El Alamein. November 2. 1942. Gone but not forgotten. — Always remembered by Betty. KING. — In memory of Les. pal of Cec. died of wounds. El Alamein. November 3. 1943. — Always remembered by Jarmyn family.
Advertiser Saturday 1 November 1952, KING. 2/48 Bn. — Leslie, died of wounds at El Alamein. November 2 1942. There are others, yes. we know. But he was ours, we loved him so. — Always remembered by gran, mum, dad and family. KING. Leslie, who died of wounds at El Alamein. November 2 1942 Though absent, he is ever near, still loved, still missed and ever dear.— Not forgotten by sisters Gwen, Marj and Coral. KING In loving memory of Les, died of wounds, El Alamein November 2 1942. Memories never die. Always remembered by Betty.
Researched and written by Kaye Lee, daughter of Bryan Holmes SX8133, 2/48th Battalion.

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