Leslie Best was born in 1926 and joined the navy in December 1942 at the age of seventeen.
He initially wanted to join the RAF but failed the test because he was colour-blind. So he joined the Royal Navy instead, because if he had not, he would have been conscripted into the coal mines.
Leslie was then shipped out to boot camp but did not stay long, as they had discovered he could read Morse code since the age of twelve and they were short of wireless operators on motor torpedo boats[MTBs]. He had no choice and was sent up to Fort William to learn the codes.
Leslie was posted to Lowestoft for the North Sea and the Dutch coast, and Dover for the English Channel. He was on a short MTB which carried two 21-inch torpedoes with a crew of twelve, including two officers and one wireless operator, which was his job.
Leslie was wounded near the end of the war in 1945 and came out with a 30percent disability pension. It happened out at sea, just off the Dutch coast. His radio stopped working so the skipper ordered him out to have a look. Leslie climbed the mast to fix the aerial and as he climbed down he tripped and fell onto the bridge canopy and landed on the deck.
After the war Leslie married and had two children. Before he joined the navy, Leslie was in the Post Office as a telegram boy and so he went back to working there.
Print taken from the book ‘A TIME TO FIGHT Living and Remembering WWII’