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Leonard Arthur Portfleet

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Page updated - 17 March 2009

Roll of Honour - Gt. Cornard

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Corporal Leonard Arthur Portfleet

 Leonard Arthur Portfleet

14522973  4th Regiment Reconnaissance Corps, Royal Armoured Corps


Leonard Portfleet, known as Len was born in Sudbury in 1910.  He was the son of Ethel Portfleet (later Ethel Johnson).  Len married Dorothy May Woodgate of Cornard Tye; his daughter recalls that he was 6 feet tall and her mother only 5 feet in height.  Their daughter was born in Sudbury before they moved first to Canhams Road, Great Cornard then in 1939 to 12 Farford Field where their son was born.


Before the war Len was employed as a bricklayer and was a member of the Territorial Army.  He was a well-known footballer for Sudbury Town.  His daughter remembers him as ‘a loving hard working Dad, a family man, who spoilt her’.  Len used to take his daughter rabbiting; her mother would then skin them and sell the skins to the tinker man for ½d.    Before joining up Len served in the Home Guard and the family had evacuees – a mother and daughter - stay for 2 years with them. 


In his regiment Len was known by his fellow soldiers as ‘Billy Portfleet’.  He had been serving abroad for 15 months when he was killed in action in Greece on 4th January 1945.  In a letter to his widow his Troop Officer L. Lamond wrote ‘He was one of the finest, bravest men I have ever met.  He was afraid of nothing.  I could always rely on him for support, in the darkest hours which we have had together.  He never failed to do anything which was his duty along with the rest of the troop.  During the months we were together, I got to know him very well and got to like him very much.  He was always treated with respect by the rest of the troop.’


Len lies buried in Phaleron War Cemetery, Greece.  The cemetery was originally created for the Commonwealth casualties of the Greek Civil War (December 1944 - February 1945) of which Len’s battalion were involved.  It is situated on the coast road between Athens and Vouliaghmen.


Len’s brother Jim Johnson lost his life serving in North Africa in May 1943; he is remembered on the Sudbury War Memorial and on the Roll of Honour in the Sudbury Heritage Museum located in The Town Hall.


Photos - Courtesy of Mrs. Pamela Pashler

©Shirley Smith - Sudbury & District Royal British Legion - November 2008