1st Hampshire Regt.
Alfred Leadbetter was the son of John and Sarah Leadbetter, of Stratfield Turgis, Basingstoke. He was the husband of Annie Maria Chambers (formerly Leadbetter) of 37, Amity Road, Reading. He is commemorated on his son’s grave, number not yet known *.
Alfred Leadbetter was killed in action on the 1st July 1916. This was the first day of the Somme Battle. Martin Middlebrook in “The First Day on the Somme” states ‘Every battalion was supposed to enter a daily account of its activities in its War Diary, this becoming the official record. The 1st Hampshires suffered so severely that no one could be found at the end of the day to describe, reliably, what had happened. Its War Diary entry for 1 July reads:
Our casualties in officers amounted to 100% and was also heavy in other ranks. (Public Record Office WO95/1495)’
That was all that could be found to describe the battle in which the Hampshires lost twenty-six officers and 559 men. The destruction of the battalion was so complete nothing was known of what really happened to it. Among the total was Alfred Leadbetter who has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing Pier and Face 7B and 7C.