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Leslie Cuthbertson GEM – Conspicuous Gallantry

Nominated By The Tynesider – Private Leslie Cuthbertson.

19 year old Geordie lad Private Leslie Cuthbertson was a miner’s son who was born in Gateshead and lived in the Sandyford area of Newcastle Upon Tyne. During the war Leslie was a trainee dentist who along with his Sergeant, New Zealander Peter King, decided to invade France on their own.

King who had been branded as too old to fight wakes Cuthbertson from his sleep and tells him they are to go on a routine army exercise which actually turns out to be an unauthorised invasion of France to fight the Germans.

After writing a letter to Winston Churchill telling him what they intended to do, they left their camp with a sack full of grenades and started their journey to their own private war against the Germans in France.


Despite being charged with desertion on his return from France and jailed for 28 days, Leslie Cuthbertson who died in 1995 went on to become Deputy Mayor of Newcastle Upon Tyne.

Leslie’s exploits were later related in a book called “Amateur Commandos” and a movie called Two Men Went To War.


Leslie Cuthbertson received the required 10 votes & is therefore awarded a posthumous Geordie Empire Medal for conspicuous gallantry and enhancing the reputation of the Geordie Empire 🙂

1 comment

    • Amy Carnall on January 22, 2020 at 9:36 pm

    That was my grandad!!!

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