Leslie Clarence Funnell
Air Mechanic 2nd Class
Serial No. 904
Australian Flying Corps
Leslie Clarence Funnell - Information
Leslie was born in Narellan on the 22nd of September 1891 to Henry and Eliza Funnell. In the 1900s, Henry and Eliza relocated the family to Darlington. The war would have a significant impact on the Funnell family. In 1914, Leslie said goodbye to his younger brother, Dudley, as he left for service overseas. As the war dragged on, Leslie made up his mind to join up after Dudley was wounded at Pozières. He signed up in Grafton on the 20th of November 1916, aged 25. At the time, he was living in Maclean, with his beautiful wife, Stella, and working as a motor mechanic. He commenced training at the Royal Showground Camp in Sydney. As he was a mechanic, he was subsequently assigned to the Australian Flying Corps as a Private. He then departed Melbourne as part of the No. 4 Squadron AFC, on the 17th of January 1917 onboard the RMS Omrah.
Leslie set down in Plymouth Harbour, and was marched into the Australian Flying Corps at Perham Downs in late March. A week later, he was transferred to the 71st Squadron at Castle Bromwich in Birmingham. In mid May, Leslie contracted a serious infection which took him several weeks to recover from. At the end of June, he was transferred to the 68th Squadron at Harlaxton. In mid September, he was transported to the Western Front in France. Leslie used his mechanical genius to keep the planes up and running. Much depended on planes as they provided reconnaissance for military operations and spying on the enemy. It was a sad job, as many of his pilot friends would not return to base. At the beginning of April 1918, he was taken on strength to the 4th Squadron, and then to the 2nd Squadron on the 26th of September. Leslie continued to service planes after the war ended. He left for Australia onboard the Kaiser-i-Hind, which sailed from England on the 6th of May 1919. He returned home to his family who were now living in Glebe.