Leonie Finn (b. 1951)
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Leonie Finn (b. 1951)


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Track 1: Leonie Finn (née King) initially discusses her father, William Donald Aelian (Bill) King, who served in WWII, and her grandfather, William Albert De Courcey King, who served in WWI. Her grandfather served in the Royal Engineers and was killed in 1917 when his son, Leonie’s father, was very young. She remembers her Scottish paternal grandmother, Ina MacKenzie, with whom she briefly lived in England as a child. Her grandfather, who rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, had been an engineer working with early aeroplanes in Farnborough. Leonie speaks about her great-great-grandfather, also named William King, who had been Professor of Palaeontology at Queen’s College, Galway and she mentions his sons who mapped the Himalayas. The origins of the King family from Northumbria is explored. She says that her grandmother’s only brother also died in WWI and that her father remembered no males in his family during his childhood. Leonie reads a postcard written to her father from his father and dated 1916. A photograph of the rows of white headstones at Dranoutre cemetery in Belgium, where William Albert De Courcey King is buried is considered. Leonie talks about her father’s tough education at Dartmouth Naval College from the age of 12, and his life at sea. During WWII, Bill King was a submarine commander and his daughter explains that he was the only officer in submarines to survive the war. She speaks about his memoir entitled Dive and Attack: A Submariner’s Story, and she recounts the story of his last command, the Telemachus, and the dramatic events of July 1944 in the Strait of Malacca when a Japanese 1-166 submarine was torpedoed by the Telemachus. Commander Bill King’s first book on the war was entitled ‘The Stick and the Stars’. His daughter discusses the peace trees planted in Oranmore and Japan as a result of reconciliation, which her father lived to see. He died at the age of 102 in 2012. She recalls the fact that he was traumatised from his experiences after the war, and she talks about his new life in Ireland. Her mother, Anita Leslie, is remembered as is her war work in the Lebanon and in Germany. Leonie relates the story of the purchase of the Oranmore towerhouse in which she now lives, and the strong connection between the Leslie and the Vincent families. She believes that her father was hurt when his father’s medals were sold by a member of the family and she feels fortunate to have his campaign medals in her keeping. Track 2: Leonie says that she feels that the greatest sadness is the loss of a father and husband and she explains that her grandmother, Ina, was distraught at the loss of her husband and at the prospect of having to raise two young children on her own. She remembers her grandmother as the kindest person who lived for her children and grandchildren, and she recalls her father as being quite a humble man. His circumnavigation of the globe when she was a teenager is recalled and she says that this journey, although not without incident, helped him psychologically after his traumatic war experiences. She remembers that he often spoke about submarines and the years of war and she explains that they were close, especially after her mother’s death 35 years ago. His visits to friends and his engagement in physical activities up until his mid-90s are described. Track 3: The difference between the practical King family and the creative Leslie family is considered. Leonie’s parents are buried in Castle Leslie, beside the lake. She speaks of the respect which her father engendered in the local people in Oranmore where he was known as the Commander, and she mentions the Irish flag from his yacht which he gave to the Galway Museum, and which was draped on his coffin prior to his burial at Castle Leslie.

Additional information


Disk, MP3

Audio series:

The Irish Country House and the Great War


128 kbps

Download time limit:

48 hours

File size(s):

7.39 MB, 16.46 MB, 9.31 MB, 6.42 MB

Number of files:


Product ID:



Lt-Col. William King DSO and Cdr William King DSO DSC

Recorded by:

Maurice O'Keeffe – Irish Life and Lore