ALM (Les) Willis

Alexander Leslie Murray Willis
Les Willis in 1945

Alexander Leslie Murray Willis
17 Sep 1888 – 30 Aug 1956

Worked at:

Culverden: Messenger Boy, 1905, aged 16

Timaru: Cadet, Learners’ Gallery, 1906, aged 17

Napier Telegraph Office: Cadet, 1907, aged 18

Cadet (Eighth class) 1909

Telegraphist (Seventh class) 1912

Christchurch: Telegraphist (Radio) 1913

Awarua Radio: Officer in Charge, 18 Dec 1913 – 31 Mar 1914, then telegraphist following the arrival of JL Davies as Officer in Charge.

Military service: Embarked Oct 1915 for Egypt with rank of Corporal in the Otago Infantry Battalion. Returned as 2nd Lieutenant in 1918.

ALM Willis

The Star, 6 July 1918, p 8
Mrs Willis, of 4-2, Straven Street, Riccarton, has received a cable message from her son, Lieutenant ALM Willis (Military Medal), that he is returning home, after being in hospital in England, Lieutenant Willis left with the Seventh Reinforcements and saw service in Egypt and France. Before enlisting he was on the staff of the wireless station at Awarua.

Wellington Radio: Telegraphist, from 1920

Awanui Radio: Senior operator, from 1921

Chatham Islands Radio: Superintendent, from 16 February 1923

Wellington Radio: Superintendent, from 1927

Kaikoura: Postmaster, from 1929

Te Aroha: Postmaster, from 1934

Rotorua: Postmaster, from 1935

Dunedin: Deputy Chief Postmaster, from 1938

Timaru: Chief Postmaster, 1939-1941


Christchurch: Chief Postmaster, Apr 1944 – 31 Mar 1945 (retirement)

The Press, 17 March 1945, p 8


Mr AL Willis, who has been Chief Postmaster at Christchurch since last April, will retire on March 31. His successor will be Mr DR Thomson, Chief Postmaster at Dunedin.

Mr Willis started his career as a telegraph messenger at Culverden in 1904. Since then he has been stationed at 19 different offices, at one time being a telegraph cadet at Christchurch. For several years he was in the radio section of the engineering branch, being in charge of Awarua, Chatham Islands, Rarotonga, and Wellington radio stations.

In 1939 Mr Willis was appointed postmaster at Kaikoura, and since then has been postmaster at Te Aroha and Rotorua, deputy-chief postmaster at Dunedin, and chief postmaster at Timaru and at Napier.

Mr Willis saw nearly four years’ service in the last war, and was awarded the Military Medal and later commissioned. He intends to live in Christchurch.

Online Cenotaph