Bierton WW2 Veteran who helped liberate Belsen nears his 100th birthday

Leslie Lemon, from Bierton who won the Legion d Honneur in recognition of his bravery in Europe during the Second World War, is set to celebrate his 100th Birthday this weekend.
Leslie Lemon, from Bierton who won the Legion d Honneur in recognition of his bravery in Europe during the Second World War, is set to celebrate his 100th Birthday this weekend.

The secret to a long life is custard, according to a soon-to-be centenarian who will celebrate his birthday by leading a hike in the Wendover hills.

Leslie Lemon, from Bierton who won the Legion d’ Honneur in recognition of his bravery in Europe during the Second World War, is set to celebrate his 100th Birthday this weekend.

He will celebrate with his friends and family at a BBQ at his home on Saturday, then on Sunday hold a reception at The Five Arrows in Waddesdon for 60 of his closest friends.


On July 1, his actual birthday he will be leading a family hike in the Wendover hills.


Mr Lemon, who in his later life was treasurer at St James Church for 26 years, was called for service in August 1939.


On the advice of his father, Jack Lemon, who served in WW1 at fought at the battle of the Somme, he joined the Royal Engineers following a period in the Territorial Army in 1939.


After time served as an anti-aircraft unit in Huntington he was posted to the infantry, where in 1944 he crossed to Calais with the 4th Battalion of the Wiltshire Regiment.


He marched through France, Belgium, Holland and across the Rhine into Germany.


He was wounded in action in 1945 but quickly recovered and was able to continue marching.


At the end of the war he was part of the liberation of the Belsen Concentration Camp, which was subsequently set up as a headquarters and renamed Home Camp.


When asked the secret of his long life, Lesley gave a surprising answer:


“Custard!, I have custard nearly nearly every day with fruit I grow in my garden. Depending on the season I have rhubarb, gooseberries, plums and apples.


“I do a lot of walking, and love being out in the fresh air and I don’t take any tablets.”


Leslie also shared his wisdom for a long and happy life.


“My advice to any young person would be, be sociable, be friendly to your neighbours and try and keep any negativity out of your life.”


He met his wife during his time in the army, and has lived in Bierton now for 39 years following time in Winslow and Scotland.


Leslie plays bowls in his spare time at the Bierton recreational ground, and was a keen tennis player earlier in his life.


After he left the army, he got a job at the Inland Revenue. He retired at the age of 60.


Leslie has two sons and a daughter.


His two sons live in Devon and Spain, and sadly his daughter passed aged 10.


Leslie said: “It’s going to be really nice to get all of my family together in one place. My sons are in Devon and Spain, so it will be great to see them both and have a nice family celebration.


“I also have eight grandchildren and seven great grandchildren. I can’t wait to see them all.”


Many happy returns, Leslie.