AUTHOR Leslie Thomas, who wrote comic novel, The Virgin Soldiers, has died.
The 83-year-old was born in Newport and brought up a Barnardo's home from the age of 12.
He was a Fleet Street reporter before he began writing novels.
Inspired by his national service in Malaya, The Virgin Soldiers, is about a group of British soldiers based in the Far East.
It was massively successful and sparked two feature films.
His subsequent novels included Tropic of Ruislip and Dangerous Davies, The Last Detective.
Both were adapted for television.
He was given an OBE for services to literature in 2004.
It is reported that he died at his home near Salisbury in Wiltshire on Tuesday.
He was said to have been ill for some time and leaves a wife, four children and four grandchildren.
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.
"He died at home with his family around him."