12345, Lance Sergeant, Walter Edward LEONARD
Aged 22


7th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Monday 3rd July 1916

Born in Newmarket in Q3-1894 [Newmarket 3b:489] to Arthur W and Florence Elizabeth LEONARD (née SHELDRICK) of 6 Falmouth Street, Newmarket, one of six children.

1901 census...Walter [6] was at 6 Falmouth Street, Newmarket with his father Arthur [33], foreman carpenter born Mildenhall; his mother Florence [33] born West Row; his brothers Arthur [8] and Walter [1], and sister Dorothy [4]. All the children were born in Newmarket.

1911 census...Walter [16] was an apprentice carpenter, still living at 6 Falmouth Street, with his parents; brothers Cecil Arthur [18] a grocers assistant and Walter Bertie [11]; sisters Dorothy Kate [14]; Edith May [8] and Florence Emily [4]. The two new sisters were born in Newmarket.


He enlisted in Newmarket, and was sent to France on 20th May 1915
On July 3rd the battalion, under the command of Major GH Henty, took part in the frontal attack on Ovillers. In this operation the 12th Div. attacked on a two brigade front, the 35th on the right, with the 5th Berkshire (right) and 7th Suffolk (left)in the front line. The 37th Brigade was on the left. The battalion attacked in 8 successive waves, the leading ones starting ten minutes before zero hour, which had been fixed for 3.15 am. The first 4 waves penetrated as far as the enemy's third line, some of them getting into the village itself; but owing to the darkness the succeeding waves lost touch, enabling the Germans to surge in and cut them off. At the 3rd line of resistance, after very severe fighting, the attack was brought to a standstill, the battalion losing very heavily. All the company commanders were killed, Major Henty and Lts Bowen,Taylor and Hood being the only officers to come through untouched. Casualties amounted to 470 of all ranks. On record with CWGC there are 159 of the 7th Battalion killed that day. mostly either buried in Ovillers Cemetery or named on the Thiepval Memorial. Thus, at the battle of Albert, this battalion was almost destroyed. The remnants stayed in the trenches till July 8th

Two other Newmarket men of the 7th Battalion were killed this day Frank Aley and William Barrett
Three Exning men of the Battalion also fell that day Edward Dicker and Ernest Hobbs and William Pitches





This photograph had appeared in the "Daily Mirror" on 19 Aug 1916 and in the Cambridge Evening News on 20 Oct 1916.


No known grave - Walter is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, France - Ref: pier and face 1C and 2A
also on the Roll of Honour of the Congregational Church, Newmarket
and the Roll of Honour in St Marys Church, Newmarket, and his parents headstone

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details


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