As part of the launch for the Shropshire Poppy Appeal 2019 Les Stocking visited the Mercedes-Benz Football Hub to speak to Shrewsbury Town players, Steve Morison and Scott Goldbourne about his experiences serving in WWII.
The visit was arranged by David Fairclough at the Royal British Legion and allowed Les, now 94, to talk to the players about his experiences serving in the Royal Engineers which included being part of the D-Day landings on 6th June 1945 at Gold Beach. Leslie signed up to join the forces when he was just 18 in 1942, and after completing his training was part of a team responsible for clearing mines from the beaches in France and later the Netherlands and Germany, often also being required to clear pillboxes whilst under enemy fire. In 2009 he received the ‘Legion D’Honneur’ for his role in liberating France.
Steve and Scott listened to Les telling his story with keen interest and were particularly struck by how young he was when he first enlisted. Of course, the conversation soon turned to football, with Les asking the two about their careers and how they enjoyed playing for Shrewsbury Town.
After the visit Steve Morison commented "It was a great honour to meet Les today and hearing about a small part of his time serving in WWII sweeping for mines and being part of the D-Day landings. Hearing of his experiences in the war while he was still so young puts a lot into perspective and we have a lot to be thankful to him for."
David Fairclough, Advice & Information Team Leader for the Royal British Legion in the West Midlands added “Each year it’s vital we continue to remember all those brave men and women who have sacrificed so much. This year is especially poignant as we have marked the D-Day 75th anniversary and the 50th anniversary of the start of Operation Banner in Northern Ireland. The British Legion will continue to use the donations generated from the Poppy Appeal to support the current and former members of the Armed Forces community given their unique contribution to our country”.
Shrewsbury Town’s official Remembrance Fixture will take place on Saturday 26th October, where they welcome Sunderland to Montgomery Waters Meadow. On the day along with the customary minutes silence and military guard of honour, the children of military personal currently serving in Afghanistan will be taking part in our Matchday Experience package and there will be bucket collectors around the stadium on behalf of Royal British Legion.
To find out more about the British Legion and the work they do with veterans across Shropshire, visit their Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/WestMidsPoppyLegion/