Radio Operator and Air Gunner
Royal Air Force
Worked on the Thailand-Burma Railway
Transported to French Indo China
Tributes are paid to former PoW Leslie Main
Published Date:- 12 June 2009
A WORLD War II veteran who survived four years in a prisoner of war camp has died aged 90.
Leslie Main worked on the infamous Burma Railroad during his time as a PoW and saw many of his comrades die at the hands of Japanese and Korean guards.
Mr Main, one of the Reporter's Millennium Men, later became a chairman of the Dewsbury branch of the Burma Star Association. The youngest of four, Mr Main was born in Batley on September 3, 1918, and attended Park Road School.
At 14 he took a job as delivery boy for a Batley greengrocers and he later worked at a local engineering firm, where he lost part of two of his fingers in an accident.
Mr Main went on to work in the dye works at Tattersfield's mill in Dewsbury Moor.
On Mr Main's 21st birthday World War II broke out. He was refused entry into the Army because of the injury to his hand but volunteered for the RAF and was accepted. Mr Main became a radio operator and air gunner and volunteered for overseas duties.
He was based at a Singapore airbase bombed by the Japanese on the same day as the Pearl Harbour attack and was taken to hospital with shrapnel wounds.
He was still in hospital when the Japanese landed and was taken to a prison camp, where he was forced to work on the Burma Railroad. In 1944 he was transferred to Saigon in Vietnam to build aerodromes and it took three months for news that the war was over to reach the camp.
A party was held on Upton Street, Batley, when he eventually returned home. He returned to his job at Tattersfield's mill, where he met his wife Doris Trevorrow.
The couple married at Westborough Methodist Chapel on April 10 1948 and moved to Mr Mains family home in Upton Street. In 1948 the couple had a son, Stewart, and moved to Mrs Main's family home in Moorside Avenue, Dewsbury Moor.
With the arrival of daughter Janet in 1950, they moved again to Moor End Lane.
The couple had another son, Paul, in 1954.
Mr Main also worked at Smith's textiles warehouse in Staincliffe, British Belting and Asbestos in Chain Bar, Cleckheaton, and Williams of Hounslow in Dewsbury Moor. In 1960 the family moved to a new house on Carlisle Close, Batley Carr, where they have lived for the past 49 years.
A lifetime member of Batley Carr WMC, Mr Main was a keen sportsman throughout his RAF career and after the war.
Mr Main died at Linson Court care home in Batley on Saturday. The funeral was held at Dewsbury Crematorium 9th June 2009.