Sgt. Leslie Bertie Neaves (1924 – 1945)
Leslie Bertie Neaves was born in Platt on 23 August 1924 and the son of Bertie Neaves, a local brick maker and his wife Bertha Hodges. The family lived near the brickworks at 2 Holly Mount, and on 30 September 1929, aged five, Leslie started at Platt School. He was a pupil there until 25 August 1933 when he transferred to Borough Green, where all the older children went.
On the outbreak of war, Leslie’s father, who was a veteran of WW1, re-enlisted the Army and saw service with the Royal Observer Corps. Leslie joined to the Royal Air Force and was assigned to 463 (R.A.A.F.) Squadron, a heavy bomber unit equipped with Avro Lancaster bombers.
During 1945 the squadron continued to fly operations against targets in Germany, and also in support of advancing ground troops. Leslie took the role of bomb aimer and was shot down during the night of 20/21 March in a bombing raid on a German petrochemical refinery. All on board were killed and buried in the Berlin 1939-45 War Cemetery.
Although Leslie lived his entire life in Platt, he was not commemorated on the local war memorial until 2016. As he was stationed at RAF Waddington his name is also recorded in The Book of Remembrance in the RAF Chapel in Lincoln Cathedral.
Image courtesy of Sally Brown (née Neaves)