The Virgin Soldiers Author Leslie Thomas Dies
Author Leslie Thomas, famous for his national service novel The Virgin Soldiers, has died at the age of 83.
The journalist-turned-novelist died surrounded by family and friends at his home close to Salisbury in Wiltshire on Tuesday after a long illness.
His wife Diana said: "He had a wonderful life and he travelled the world. All he ever wanted to do was write and that is what he did."
Thomas was born in Newport, Wales, and grew up in a Barnardo's home.
His first job in journalism was as a reporter at a weekly newspaper.
From there he moved on to Fleet Street and the London Evening News.
Thomas covered a number of major stories, including the trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann.
His time as a national serviceman in Malaya inspired the author's most famous work, a comic story of British soldiers based in the Far East.
The bestseller later became a hit film.
Thomas, who also wrote numerous non-fiction and travel books during his career, was given an OBE for services to literature ten years ago.
He leaves behind his wife, four children and four grandchildren.