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LEONARD STANLEY MARQUIS, R.A.A.F WW2, & S. A. STATE LIBRARY

Two covers were found for L.S. Marquis, the first was sent in May 1944 with the green 4d Koala Bear stamp cancelled with an Adelaide roller postmark, addressed to him with his Service number 26405 as Warrant Officer at the R.A.A.F. Command, at a Brisbane G.P.O. Postal Box, when he was on active service, for he was not discharged until 3 September 1946 (Figure 1).

The second cover was sent to his wife Mrs A.E. Marquis, ‘Sunset’ 14 Esplanade Sth., Semaphore, South Australia, the address being enclosed in a penned drawing of a map New Guinea, with a palm tree and "Greetings from New Guinea". The brown 3d KGVI head stamp was postmarked with a Field P.O. cancel and the date appeared to be incorrect as 4 FE 49, a date when he was unlikely to be in New Guinea (Figure 2).

His R.A.A.F. service record confirmed his service number, his date of birth as 2 May 1916 at Semaphore, S.A. and it gave his enlistment date as 30 April 1940. His rank was a Flying Officer and his posting at discharge was described as D- INTELL SUPER, which had to do with intelligence work. His Service Record is shown as Figure 3.

 

More information was obtained about what he was involved in during the war in the finding of a drawing of Pilot Officer Leonard Marquis, which was a pencil drawing of him made in Nauru. It was described as a "Portrait depicting Pilot Leonard Stanley Marquis, Royal Australian Air Force, Allied Translator and Interpreter Service, to Brigadier J.R. Stevenson’s party for the acceptance of the surrender of the Japanese forces on Nauru and Ocean Islands" (Figure 4).

 

There is information on Leonard Stanley Marquis in the post-World War 2 period which describes his work at the South Australian State Library. Leonard (1916-1993) was for many years associated with and ultimately in charge of the S.L.S.A’s collection of newspapers which for much of the time he worked with them, and made them available to the public. By 1970 the Library held 69 South Australian papers, another 154 papers from the other States and Territories, as well as 123 from overseas.

During the 18 years he was in charge of the Newspaper Collection he preserved the collection, and went to extraordinary lengths to discover discarded, forgotten or hoarded newspapers which he felt were of importance and or relevance. When he retired from the State Library in 1980 he sought and obtained a grant to research the history of the South Australian press. During his career, in preparation of a seminar, he delved into the origins of, and the building up of, the newspaper collection as it stood at the time, as well as trying to assess what the collection could offer in the way of history for posterity. The result of this work, which he never lived to see published, was published after his death as a paperback of 128 pages, entitled South Australian Newspapers: A Selection of Material from the Research Notes of Leonard Stanley Marquis, by L. Marquis & R. Parsons, 1998.

This paper relies heavily on information from the S.L.S.A. and the Australian War Memorial.

 
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