Leonard Coles

Memorial: Marshfield - High Street

Regiment: Royal Garrison Artillery

Medals: British War Medal, Next of Kin Memorial Plaque 1914 - 1921, Victory Medal

Rank and number: Gunner 39039

Parents: James and Georgina Coles

Home address: Little End, Marshfield, Glos

Date of birth: 1896

Place of birth: Marshfield, Glos

Date of death: 13/09/1917

Buried/Commemorated at: Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery (Ref XVIII. E. 20.), Poperinge, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium

Age: 21

Further information:

Leonard served with the 306th Siege Battalion, Royal Garrison Artillery and Died of Wounds on 13 September 1917 aged 21

Leonard Coles was one of nine children born to James and Georgina Coles. James Coles was a farm labourer as well as Church Sexton and Leonard followed his father into agriculture, starting his working life as a Plough Boy. By the time war started, his sister and three of his brothers had left home, perhaps to seek a life away from the back breaking and poorly paid work on the land. Quite when Leonard Coles joined the Army is unclear, or indeed what took him to the artillery

The battery suffered its first casualty on 29 July, Third Ypres started in earnest on 31 July. A few days later 401 Siege Battery with two howitzers and 1 officer and 57 ORs were absorbed into Coles’s battery. By now the weather had set in, it rained most days, sometimes it was a deluge, however life with a battery of howitzers was as different as could be from life in the trenches. Billets were dry, meals were regular and invariably hot, whilst sniper and machine gun fire were totally absent. But they were not immune to death and destruction and their constant bombardment of the enemy meant that the Germans has a fair idea of their location. On 17 September a high explosive shell hit 306th Battery killing Gunner Leonard Cook. He is buried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery (Ref XVIII. E. 20.), Poperinge, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium

By kind permission, this information is based on the following source(s):

Forces War Records and CWGC