Stoker First Class Leslie Follett was a young man from Marton Junction who went to sea at an early age. In 1914 he was on a Norwegian vessel when it was inspected by the Germans. Claiming that he was Norwegian he was not made prisoner and when his vessel arrived in Britain he joined the Royal Navy. Posted to the battle cruiser HMS Queen Mary, Leslie was lost when the ship went down in the Battle of Jutland in 1916.
Born at Marton Junction on 9 July 1894, Leslie Raymond Follett was the son of Charles and Annie Follett. Leslie went to sea at a young age and was serving as a cook on a Norwegian vessel in 1914. As part of their naval operations the vessel was boarded and inspected by German authorities and to avoid being taken prisoner he gave his nationality as Norwegian. This sufficed and he was left on board. On the vessel arriving in a British port Leslie left and entered the Royal Navy.
New Zealand was immediately astern of Queen Mary when that ship suffered a catastrophic explosion and blew apart.
Leslie entered the Royal Navy on 11 November 1914 under a special engagement, whereby as a Stoker you served five years full time and seven years in the Royal Fleet Reserve, thus his official number was SS 116258. His name in the Navy was simply ‘Leslie Follett’, without any middle name. In the rate of Stoker second class he was posted to HMS Victory II for basic training, which was located at Chrystal Palace. Things did not go smoothly and in February 1915 Leslie spent five days in cells, before being posted to HMS Queen Mary on 13 June 1915.