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News > OP updates > Obituaries > Leonard John Wilson - Portsmouth Grammar School 1944 - 1951

Leonard John Wilson - Portsmouth Grammar School 1944 - 1951

6 Oct 2021
Written by Paul Hassall
Leonard 'Will' Wilson
Leonard 'Will' Wilson

Leonard John Wilson

9 September 1932 – 21 February 2020

OP 1944 -1951

Leonard John Wilson (Will) was born on 9th September 1932. Despite a poor childhood (his father’s work as a violinist was often precarious), Will had, by all accounts, a wonderful relationship with his parents and three older siblings – lots of political conversations and jokes and no set bedtime!

While at Lyndhurst Road Primary School in Portsmouth, Will won a full scholarship to PGS in spring 1944.

This was also the year that his beloved older brother Harry (an RAF navigator) died aged 21, having been shot down over France. Will, (or Chief as he became known), grew up quickly, becoming the man of the house even though he was the youngest.

Will often spoke fondly about his time at PGS, saying he had benefited from great teaching and opportunities. While there, he met Bunty (Margaret) who was at the Portsmouth Northern Grammar Girls School - they became great friends, marrying in 1957.

Winning a scholarship to Bristol University Will read History, graduating in 1954. National Service followed. He was keener to return to civilian life than take a commission. When informed at the end that ‘you have only ever been a civilian in military clothing’ he apparently replied ‘you couldn’t have said a nicer thing about me!’

Enjoying a varied career in the Inland Revenue, Will served as a District Inspector in Portsmouth, Dorchester, Guildford and London, where he worked with the Stock Exchange and international banks. There also seemed to be lots of fun in his offices, including moustache growing competitions (long before ’Movember’).

Will retired on his 60th birthday, enjoying a special announcement across the tannoy at Waterloo, celebration on the train arranged by fellow commuters, and street party back home in Guildford!

He had a long, happy and healthy retirement, appreciating holidays with friends, frequent visits to his two daughters and keeping up his interests in politics, history, literature, art, travel, gardening and sport (including putting a bet on the horses!)

Will died on 21st February 2020 after a short illness with his family by his side. He was engaged, funny and appreciative right to the end.

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