History & Learning

Convoys Remembered

Ron Leslie

Fleet Air Arm

Information by Ron Leslie. Edited by Leona Thomas.

Ron Leslie was a member of the Fleet Air Arm, the branch of the Royal Navy responsible for the operation of naval aircraft.

During the Second World War, the Fleet Air Arm operated both aircraft on ships and land-based aircraft (fighters, torpedo bombers and reconnaissance aircraft). Members of the Fleet Air Arm moved to different ships and bases as required.

Ron served on board the aircraft carriers HMS VindexHMS Campania and HMS Nairana and made various trips in support of a number of Arctic convoys from late 1943 onwards. He had responsibility for the safety equipment, among other things.

Ron recalls: “We were based under the flight deck, not in the messes like the other crew members. I slept under the table used for packing the parachutes. We had no proper gear for the cold. We were sent gloves knitted by folk back home and distributed by charities. We also had woollen long johns – but I never wore mine till I was back in Greenock!”

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