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Leonard James Webb
April 16, 1921
Replace this image male.svg
Place of birth Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch Royal Army Service Corps
Years of service April 17th, 1941 - September 6th, 1946
Rank Driver
Battles/wars World War II
Other work Mayor of Thame 1975 - 1979

Leonard James Webb (born April 16, 1921) is a British World War II veteran who was present at the liberation of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945.




Early life

Webb was born in Cologne in Germany, the second son to William and Lillian Webb in 1921 at the time when his father was serving as Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant in the then 14th King's Hussars whilst on duty in the occupation of the Rhine. In 1924 his fathers regiment moved back to Tidworth in Wiltshire until he was demobbed in 1927, and the family moved to William's birthplace of Long Crendon in Buckinghamshire.

Pre-World War II

Webb attended Long Crendon County School until the age of 14 with the idea of trying for a place as a pilot in the RAF. Unfortunately he failed the exam for an RAF apprenticeship, at RAF Halton in Aylesbury, being offered a place as a boy entrant instead which he accepted but sadly was rejected later due to colour blindness. Around the same time Webb was doing well within the Scout Movement, becoming a troop leader and gaining all his proficiency badges which earnt him a place at the 5th World Scout Jamboree.

World War II

Webb joined the army on the 17th April 1941, the day after his 20th birthday, he reported to Bulford Barracks where he underwent 4 months of drilling and square bashing he was posted to a holding company, later to pass his driving test and become T262475 Driver Webb.

The driver to Brigadier Glyn Hughes the Deputy Director of Medical Services for the British Second Army, who was in charge of relief operations in Bergen-Belsen. Webb witnessed some of the horrors for which the Holocaust is remembered. The relief work he and his staff faced was a monumental task of feeding tens of thousands of former prisoners, reducing the mortality rate and preventing the spread of infectious diseases. Burying the bodies became an overwhelming task. The British forced SS guards to remove and inter the corpses in mass graves, but soon bulldozers were used to complete the task.

Post World War II

Later on in life, he was also the mayor of Thame from 1975 - 1979. In December 1999 he was made the first Honoury Citizen of Thame, in recognition of his long, exemplary and outstanding public service to the people of Thame, both as a citizen and a councillor.



Serving from 1969 to 1995 as a Thame Councillor

Serving from 1977 to 1991 as a Thame District Councillor

Mayor of Thame from 1975 to 1979 and Deputy Mayor on two occasions

School Governor of John Hampden school in 1969, serving for 26 years, including as Chairman from 1975 to 1990

Helping to set up and Chair 'Thame In Bloom', setting up and chairing Thame Carnival for many years

Setting up and Chairing Thame PHAB Club for the Disabled for many years

Becoming a Trustee of The Thame Barns Centre in 1990

Chairman of The Friends of Meadowcroft in 2000

Chairing the Thame Golden Jubilee Festival Organising committee 2002

He currently lives in Thame in retirement.

See also



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