Private Leslie Abram Neufeld was born near Lost River, Saskatchewan, on January 17, 1922. He was among the oldest of ten children in the Mennonite farming family of Henry and Anna Neufeld.
He enlisted in the Army on January 13, 1942, in Saskatoon, Sask., initially serving overseas with No. 10 Field Ambulance, Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps. As planning for D-Day intensified, Neufeld transferred to the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion in February of 1944 and trained as a paratrooper. Late in the evening of June 5, the plane carrying Neufeld’s “C” Company of the 1st Can. Para. Battalion took off from England, to parachute into Normandy, France, ahead of the main Allied landing forces of D-Day, June 6, 1944.
Neufeld was killed in action June 6, 1944; his body was never recovered. He is commemorated at the Bayeux Memorial in Bayeux, Normandy, France.
The first of the collection’s two letters was written by Neufeld to his family the day before his D-Day deployment. The second letter was to his brother Leonard H. Neufeld from the Saskatchewan government, informing him of the naming of “Neufeld Bay” in the Lac La Ronge district in honor of his brother Leslie.
The three poems, about war, duty and soldiering, were written by Neufeld in 1939, several years prior to his military service while he was still in high school.
Pte. Neufeld’s service record (Serv/Reg# L74243) can be viewed/downloaded in pdf format through Library and Archives Canada.
Burial information is available at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
A memorial page honouring Neufeld can be visited online at the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.
[Editor’s note: Collection reviewed/updated January 2023. One additional letter, three poems, and one telegram added. Transcriptions reviewed and errors corrected. Collection Description expanded (date of death of June 6, 1944, is the date designated by both the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and by Library and Archives Canada).]