Corporal - Royal Air Force, No. 12 Balloon - Service No. 644368
Leslie John Harding was born on 26th October 1921 in Grimsby, Lincolnshire. His father was Ernest John Harding, a Draper’s Manager of Bon Marche, and his mother was Louisa Jane (née Tucker). The first school that he attended was St Josephs School in Gravesend.
In 1932 Leslie Harding joined The County School for Boys – now known as Gravesend Grammar School. The Head Master at that time was the Reverend Samuel Lister. The County School for Boys was located in Darnley Road, Gravesend close to the Railway Station (now the Victoria Centre for Education). In 1938 the School moved to brand new premises in Church Walk, Milton, Gravesend opposite to Milton Church.
The School’s Admission Register lists Leslie’s address as Highlands, Windsor Road, Gravesend. Whilst at the School, Leslie was in Hill House. Younger brother, Eric Harding (born 1923) was also a student at the School. He is also on the School Roll of Honour – killed in action on 4th June .1942. Another brother, Cyril, was a member of the National Fire Service in Gravesend during the War, and a sister, Freda, on war service in East Africa.
In 1937 Leslie left the School and went to John Cass College. He joined the Royal Air Force in May 1939 as a Corporal, Service Number 644368, serving with No 12 Balloon Centre. Balloon Command was responsible for looking after the barrage balloon units.
Leslie Harding was killed during an attempted raid on Dieppe on 19th August 1942, he was 20 years of age. He is remembered at Oosterduinkerke Cemetry, West Vlaanderen Belgium, Row G. Grave 174
There are links below to Newspaper Clippings and Photographs from the Gravesend Grammar School Archives.
Below are links to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website and a few other websites that might be of interest: