LEADBETTER Wilfred Howard

  • First Name(s):
  • Surname:
  • Service Number:
  • Rank:

    Lance Corporal

  • Conflict:
  • Service:
  • Army Sector:
  • Corps:
    Corps of Royal Engineers
  • Regiment:
    Royal Engineers
  • Former Units:
    Formerly 10337, Kings Royal Rifle Corps (25th A.T. Company, Royal Engineers).
  • Date of Death:
    2nd August 1916
  • Age At Death:
  • Cause of Death:
    Died of wounds
  • Place of Death:
  • Place of Burial:
    Bromsgrove Cemetery, Worcestershire, England, Grave D. 266.
  • Place of Birth:
    Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, enlisted Birmingham
  • Home Town:
  • Casualty's Relatives:

    Son of Job and Jennie Woodman, The Croft, Stourbridge Rd.

Remember The Fallen - Lest We Forget

Further Information About LEADBETTER Wilfred Howard

Wilfred Leadbetter was born at Bromsgrove in 1894, one of 7 children of Job and Jane Woodman nee Ladbrooke.  The family lived in Station Street and subsequently The Croft, Stourbridge Road, Bromsgrove.  Prior to enlisting Wilfred was employed as a metal worker.  His brother Harold (born 1893) served as Sapper, 22719, Royal Engineers during the war.

Bromsgrove, Droitwich and Redditch Messenger, 5th August 1916:
On Wednesday evening, County Councillor and Mrs J. Leadbetter received by telegraph the sad intimation of the death of their second son Sergeant Wilfred Leadbetter, Royal Engineers, attached King’s Royal Rifles.  The telegram stated that the deceased had died on a hospital ship at 4.40 on Wednesday afternoon, during the crossing from France to England, and the body was placed in the Military Hospital at Dover.  Yesterday morning a field card was received from the deceased bearing the field post date of July 30th, stating that he had been wounded and was being sent down to the base, so that it is evident that Sergeant Leadbetter died from wounds received in action.  The body is being removed from Dover to Bromsgrove for burial.
Sergeant Leadbetter was 22 years of age and enlisted in the army nearly 4 years ago last November.  He and his older brother, Harold, enlisted together.  Their desire was to enter the Royal Engineers, but as the deceased soldier was not old enough to join that corps, they decided to enter the King’s Royal Rifles, in which they did 6 months training and then transferred to the Royal Engineers.
Both successfully passed their trade tests, and were put on the skilled rate, and Wilfred won a stick and medal as the smartest man in the firing party.  He was for some time stationed on the South Coast and in addition to mining operations he had experience of several flights.  Subsequently, the two brothers volunteered for service abroad and went to Hong Kong, where they were stationed when the war broke out, and where they served for more than a year and became instructors in mining, trench and entanglement operations.
Soon after the outbreak of hostilities on the continent, both volunteered for service in France and returned to England in November 1914 and were granted furlough.  In December of the same year the deceased was drafted to France where he served until he was wounded.  He was granted leave at Christmas last, when he spent 5 days at home. Four months ago he was transferred to the King’s Royal Rifles, with which regiment he served his probation period prior to receiving a commission in an infantry regiment in the Regular Army.  He had finished his probation satisfactorily and had been apprised by his superior officers that he could expect notification of his promotion any day.
Sergeant Leadbetter was rendered unconscious for six hours in the course of a great pitched battle last autumn, and he also had a dose of gas more recently, but with these exceptions he had escaped injury throughout the many dangerous operations in which he had taken part.  His older brother was also making good progress in the army, but was discharged some time ago owing to physical unfitness.  He is at present engaged on munitions.

Bromsgrove, Droitwich and Redditch Messenger, 12th August 1916:
On Thursday morning Mrs Leadbetter received a sympathetic letter from the matron of the hospital ship on which Sergeant Leadbetter died.  She states:
€œWe brought your son over on this ship and he was quite comfortable and happy on the journey.  He was not able to talk much, as he had a wound in his throat, but read a little and was quite cheerful.  When we arrived at Dover, we were waiting to disembark, another ship having arrived before us, when he had a slight attack of coughing, followed by haemorrhage.  The end was so sudden that it may be some consolation to you to know that he did not suffer pain and was immediately unconscious.  It is I think doubly hard to lose anyone when they have returned so near home.€
The funeral took place at Bromsgrove Cemetery on Saturday 5th August 1916.  The ceremony in the afternoon was of a military character and attracted the attention of large crowds of spectators, the route from the house to the church being lined with people, who showed manifestations of regard for the deceased soldier and sympathy with the bereaved relatives.  At the graveside the Rev. J. Chevasse Karn, curate, delivered an address in which he said occasions such as this needed very few words and indeed it was difficult to express one’s feelings in words, feelings of the most intense sympathy with a family well-known and respected, in their time of severe trial, and at a time when the cost of sacrifice was felt to be overwhelming.  But there were feelings of gratitude to the family for having given one of so high a character and so full of promise to the service of the country, and who was so greatly respected by all who knew him, fought with him and worked with him.

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Credits: Casualty researched by Chris and Angela Lucas. Additional information and newspapers researched by Andy Frisby.