Mr Leslie Williams was born in Tonypandy, Glamorgan, Wales during the summer of 1888.
He was the son of Lewis Williams and his wife Elizabeth (née Davies?) (b. 1857 in Aberdare) who had married around 1873 and he had seven siblings, losing one in infancy. His surviving siblings were: Charles Henry (b. 1875), Elizabeth (b. 1881), Lewis (b. 1883), Margaret Anne (b. 1885), Harold (b. 1887) and Edith May (b. 1891).
He first appears on the 1891 census living at 4 Fernley Terrace, Clydach, Ystradyfodwg, Rhondda, later moving to 19 Gleaner (?) Street, Ystradyfodwg by the time of the following census. Then aged 12, he had already left school and was described as an apprentice boilermaker.
Leslie was married in 1910 to Lillie Thomas (b. 1 July 1891), also a Tonypandy native and the couple had a son, Leslie James (b. 29 October 1910). The young family appeared on the 1911 census living at 59 Primrose Street, Tonypandy and Leslie was described as a blacksmith's striker.
Williams was also a professional boxer (bantamweight) and was travelling to the USA under contract for a series of boxing contests. He was travelling with a fellow Rhondda boxer, David Bowen, and was the better known of the two. His ring weight was 122 lbs and he was regarded as a promising fighter.1 He and Bowen booked passage through the Cardiff office of Dean and Dawson, tourist and steamship agents, 67 St Mary Street, Cardiff (ticket number 54636, £16, 2s). Originally supposed to have travelled aboard Baltic,,2 they changed plans in order to receive new suits they were having tailored and eventually boarded the Titanic at Southampton as third class passengers.
They boarded the Titanic at Southampton as third class passengers, travelling on joint ticket number 54636 which had cost £16, 2s.
Both Leslie Williams and David Bowen were lost in the sinking. Williams' body was later recovered by the MacKay Bennett (#14) and was buried at sea on 22 April 1912.
NO. 14. - MALE. - ESTIMATED AGE. 28. - HAIR, FAIR.
CLOTHING - Green overcoat; blue serge suit; red striped shirt; two scarves.
EFFECTS - Two pocket books; two gold rings; one pair silver cuff links; ticket; Papers; knife; etc.; £3 10s; and $30 in gold; £2 6s, 6d. in silver and copper Coins.
THIRD CLASS TICKET. - NAME -LESLIE WILLIAMS,
Prof. Boxer 59 Primrose St., Tony Pandy.
LESLIE WILLIAMS. WELSH BOXER'S BODY RECOVERED BY THE MACKAY BENNETT. Nearly one hundred of the dead from the Titanic have been picked up by the steamer Mackay Bennett. The first list yesterday contained the name of Leslie Williams, the young Welsh boxer, whose body has been embalmed, and will be taken to Halifax. Williams, in company with another boxer named Dave Bowen, were journeying to America to fulfil engagements arranged for them. Bowen's body has not yet been recovered. — Sporting Life, 24 April 1912
His wife had been pregnant at the time of the sinking and gave birth to a son on 25 July 1912 and named him Harold Charles.
Lillie Williams was later remarried in 1915 to a Daniel Winter (1893-1953), a coal miner, and had a large family with him before her death on 27 September 1981 aged 90.
His son Leslie later worked in the coal mining pits and was married and had four children. He died aged 54 on 17 May 1965 in the Cambrian Colliery disaster when an explosion caused by firedamp resulted in the death of 31 miners in Clydach Vale, Rhondda.
Leslie Williams' posthumously-born son Harold died on 13 November 1971 in Trealaw, Rhondda.