Railway Troops Depot
13th Battalion Canadian Railway Troops
Division 71 & 72
The brothers were the sons of Jonas and Louisa Lawrence of Diddenham Cottages, Grazeley. Frank was the younger of their two sons. They boys had three sisters. The 1911 census indicates that only Frank and his sister May were living at home. Frank and his father both worked with horses at a farm in Aldermaston.
William died of blood poisoning on 22 July 1916 aged 25. It is not known how this was contracted.
Frank died of influenza and broncho-pneumonia on 13/2/1919, aged 23. He is buried in Division 64 VI E. 2. Sainte Marie Cemetery Le Harve. Le Harve was the main British base and home to three general and two stationary hospitals as well as four convelescent depots.
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.
Thomas John Leicester
Regimental Serjeant Major 70898
2nd/ 1st Berkshire Yeomanry
Divisions 71 & 72
Thomas John Leicester was the husband of Fanny Elizabeth Leicester, of 36, Waylin Street, Reading.
Thomas Leicester had served in the Boer War and had obtained a Long Service and Good Conduct Medal. He died on 31st March 1918. Cause of death is not given, it is possible that it was influenza, there was a serious epidemic at the time.