Son of Leonard and Edith Scatcherd, of Layton, Blackpool, Lancashire. Leslie was educated at Dewsbury Wheelwright Grammar School. He came to Blackpool with his parents at the age of 7 and attended Blackpool Grammar School, where he was captain of the second rugby and cricket teams. After leaving he was a pupil at the Northern Counties Wireless School, Preston, where he gained the second class Post-Master General Certificate for wireless telegraphy. In November 1939 he joined the Merchant Navy under the Marconi Company of Chelmsford. Of a very bright and happy disposition, he was popular with his many friends.