Obituary - Les Williams - TunnelTalk

Obituary

Leslie Benyon Williams 1938 - 2013
Well known to so many in the UK tunnelling industry, Les Williams died of cancer on 31 October 2013.
Les Williams 1938 - 2013

Les Williams
1938 - 2013

His good friend and colleague of many years, Dave Hindle, Consultant and Partner, OTB Engineering, UK, recalls that, from humble beginnings as a trainee detailer working for Travers Morgan & Partners on reinforced and pre-stressed concrete structures, Les found his forte in bridge engineering. After working on numerous major schemes, through design to construction supervision, he rose through the ranks to become Operations Director of Travers Morgan responsible for all civil engineering activities in its London office.
In the 1980s Les was part of the specialist team reporting in to the Serpell Committee into the finances of British Rail and was involved in the modifications to London Underground stations following the official enquiry into the devastating and lethal fire at Kings Cross. During that time he also managed the construction of the A55 highway tunnels at Penmaenbach and Pen-y-Clip in North Wales. In the early 1990s he headed up the design of the Crossrail station at Liverpool Street, an ambitious project that featured the extensive use of sprayed concrete and which is now under construction.
In 1994 Les left Travers Morgan to pursue a career as an independent consultant and found himself in great demand, not least by London Underground where his late older brother Peter was already a very well known engineer. As Engineer's Project Representative, Les was responsible for a number of major schemes including Kings Cross, White City, Shepherds Bush and Earls Court Phase 1 redevelopments and most recently the Bond Street Station upgrade.
Les was well liked and respected by all who worked with him, even though he usually got his own way. However, a year or so ago his famous nephew, comic actor David Walliams, whilst shopping in Oxford Street, decided to drop in on Les at work to see what his favourite uncle was up to, and in the process caused him maximum embarrassment. Needless to say that despite Les' best efforts to keep him in reception the word rapidly spread through the office and Les suddenly found himself in show business. Not that this sort of thing ever fazed Les. After all, having worked for Travers Morgan for nearly 40 years then as a client, holding the purse strings and faced with contractors day-in day-out, his theatrical training was already well honed and his sense of humour, as always, shone through.
Les was a regular attendee of the BTS meetings each month and also of the Annual BTS Dinner.
Les at a recent BTS Dinner

Les at a recent
BTS Dinner

Les battled with cancer of the face for a number of years. Following an operation to remove an eye, the humour of the situation was not lost on him as he accepted the inevitable corny remarks, gifts of pirate hats and rubber parrots, with great aplomb. Sadly, though we all thought he had beaten it, the tumour came back with a vengeance and Les died on 31 October at the Royal Marsden Hospital. Amongst his last words were "I've had a wonderful life". What more can you say?
Les leaves his wife Vivien, four daughters Laura, Natalie, Sarah and Kayley and many good friends and colleagues.
Les was a fan and supporter of TunnelTalk and his daughter Kayley wrote news articles for the magazine at the start of her career as a journalist. Les was always a man of 'can do' enthusiasm and determination, qualities that were infectious for those with whom he worked and associated.
Funeral arrangements:
Wednesday 20 November 2013 at 2pm at the Randalls Park Crematorium, Randalls Road, Leatherhead, Surrey KT22 0AG
Donations to the Royal Marsden Hospital, Sutton, may be sent via Stoneman Funeral Service, 10–11 Shelvers Hill, Tadworth, Surrey

        

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