Hi All,

I regret to advise of the passing of Naval Observer and Photographic Officer Lieutenant Commander Leslie (Les) Edmund Powell RAN (Rtd) in Canberra Hospital on 8 March 2022 after losing a long fight with Prostate Cancer.

Les joined the Australian Army in August 1951.  After serving in Charlie Company, 3 RAR,  in Korea from June 1952 until July 1953, he was discharged from the Army on the same day as hostilities officially ended in Korea.

In January 1954 Les was selected for aircrew entry into the Navy on NAAC Course 10 and, subsequently, RAAF pilot course No 18.  In 1955 Les transferred to Observer aircrew and joined the first Observer Training Course conducted in Australia.  He graduated top of his class and went to the UK to undertake All Weather Fighter training.   He returned to Australia in 1957 and served in 808 and 724 Squadrons in Sea Venoms and in 816 Squadron in Gannets.

He was promoted to Lieutenant Commander in 1965 and  served as the Senior Observer in 725 Squadron and 817 Squadron.

January 1971 saw Les, accompanied by his family, posted to the Australian Embassy in Saigon, South Vietnam, as the Assistant Military Attache during the last years of the Vietnam War.  The family returned to Australia in January 1973 and settled into life in Canberra.  In October 2016 Les, and seven others, were invited to Korea to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the two major battles involving Australians – Kapyong and Maryang San. In March the following year, the self proclaimed “magnificent eight” met at the Australian War Memorial to commemorate 65 years since the end of the Korean War.  Later that day Les and the other seven veterans were invited onto the floor of Federal Parliament for the reading of statements by both the Government Minister and the Opposition Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs.

Les and his wife Sally were popular and much loved by those serving in the FAA at the time and after his retirement from the Navy.

Les’s funeral will take place at 10am on Friday 25 March 2022 at White Lady Funerals, 101 Nettlefold Street Belconnen ACT 2617.  All mourners are invited back to Anthony’s place at 11 Lachlan St in Macquarie for lunch.  RSVPs are requested for catering purposes to lespowell31@gmail.com.

The funeral will be live streamed for those unable to attend:


Leslie Edmund Powell

Livestreamed on 25th March from 10.00am to 11.30am

and you can view the recording for up to 90 days.

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Keep well,

from John Da Costa