Historical information

Leslie William Cole was born on 31 January 1920 in Albury, the first child of William James Cole and Gwendoline Fair. Les spent most of his childhood living with his grandparents in Bethanga, Victoria. In 1934 when he finished school, Les moved into Wodonga. His first job was at Mates Timber Yard. He later worked for Mylons of Wodonga driving taxis and buses.
In 1939 after completing militia training, Les applied to enlist with the RAAF and eventually trained as an Aircraft Mechanic. He was posted to the 6th Squadron, serving in Port Moresby, Milne Bay and Goodenough Island before returning to the RAAF base in Sale, Victoria.
On discharge. Les returned to Wodonga and resumed working with Mylons. After a range of jobs, Les and his wife Lorna operated a shop in Ariel Street, Wodonga.
In the community, Les was a founding member of Wodonga Lions Club. He also joined the Civil Defence which was a predecessor off the SES. He became the Communications Officer and trained other members. Les became the first Controller of the Wodonga Branch of the State Emergency Service, a position he held for 17 years. The new SES headquarters was named in his honour. In retirement he also worked as a Volunteer Community Driver. Les was also named Wodonga Citizen of the Year in 1984.
Les continued living in Wodonga until the age of 103 in 2023, when he moved to Melbourne to be closer to his children. He passed away on 12 December 2023.

This torch was part of a collection of items donated to Wodonga Historical Society by Les Cole. The RSL emblem on this item was first introduced in 1990.

Physical description

A small tin containing an aluminium torch and 2 batteries in foam packing. The emblem of the Australian Returned Services League is etched on the lid.

Inscriptions & markings