Leslie A. Yeo – a case of mistaken identity?

Leslie Alexander Yeo was baptised at the parish church of St Michael and All Angels, Walthamstow on 6 September 1913. His birth was registered in the West Ham district, which included East Ham and Walthamstow. His parents were William Henry Yeo and Alice Maud Yeo née Freeman. Martin Saul and Rodney Silk have been researching his family.

Leslie Aubrey Yeo was born about the same time – his birth was registered in the Hartley Wintney district, which included the Hampshire towns of Farnborough, Fleet and Hook. His parents were Arthur James Yeo and Eliza Alice Yeo née Walter, who had several other children.

Only initials for second forenames were recorded in birth registrations at the time, and both births were registered as Leslie A. Yeo in the third quarter of 1913. So it is easy to see how these two men might be confused with each other. Both had a connection to South Africa.

Leslie Alexander Yeo married Edith Rose Farmer (known as Edie) in 1937. He joined the Royal Navy and served on the P-class submarine HMS Pandora, which served in the Far East and the Mediterranean. 

While the Pandora was docked at Durban in 1941, Leslie was taken ashore to hospital. A letter in the possession of his family refers to him as a leading stoker and states that he was admitted for ‘observation of a duodenal ulcer’. The findings were unclear; he was deemed to be fit nine days later and was discharged. He was sent to a nearby transit camp, from which he deserted the following day. No more is known of him. (The Pandora was later attacked and sunk by an Italian bomber on 1 April 1942, while docked at Hamilton Wharf, south of the Maltese capital Valetta; a number of crew members died in this attack.)

Leslie Aubrey Yeo emigrated to South Africa in the 1920s with his parents, brothers and sisters. His father Arthur died there in 1949, as did Leslie in 1971.

If you know anything else about the lives of these two men, please let us know via the Contact Us page.


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