DIGHTON, Leslie Probyn

25150 Serjeant. 2nd Bn., Canterbury Regiment, NZEF, New Zealand Infantry.

Born

June 1891.
Son of Dr. Allen Adair Dighton (Surgeon) and Mrs Maude Dighton of Cheltenham.

Family

Husband of Evelyn Dighton of 8, Lansdown Terrace, Cheltenham.

Education

Blundell’s School, “Petergate”, from the age of 12, September 1901 – Easter 1902.

The Offensive

The Ypres Salient was formed during the First Battle of Ypres in October and November 1914. The Second Battle of Ypres began in April 1915 when the Germans released poison gas into the Allied lines north of Ypres. This was the first time gas had been used by either side and the violence of the attack forced an Allied withdrawal and a shortening of the line of defence. There was little more significant activity on this front until 1917, when in the Third Battle of Ypres an offensive was mounted by Commonwealth forces to divert German attention from a weakened French front further south. The initial attempt in June to dislodge the Germans from the Messines Ridge was a complete success, but the main assault north-eastward, which began at the end of July, quickly became a dogged struggle against determined opposition and the rapidly deteriorating weather. The campaign finally came to a close in November with the capture of Passchendaele.

Death

9th June 1917, aged 28.
Killed in action.

Burial/Commemoration

Serjeant Dighton has no known grave so is commemorated on the Messines Ridge (N.Z.) Memorial.

Memorial

The memorial to the missing is situated within Messines Ridge British Cemetery, which is 9km south of Ypres on the N365. Messines was a strong strategic position, not only from its height above the plain below but also from its extensive system of cellars below the convent known as the Institution Royale. The memorial occupies the land which used to belong to the institution and commemorates over 800 men of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, who died in or near Messines in 1917 and 1918.

Research

Commonwealth War Graves Commission - www.cwgc.org
Public Record Office, National Archives, Kew: Medal Rolls: WO372/
“The Register of Blundell's School, Part II 1882 – 1932” (1932) MAHOOD, A.S., Ed. Entry No.4850
“The Blundellian”, 1919 March p439
Cemeteries & Memorials in Belgium & Northern France (2004) Commonwealth War Graves Commission. 5/114
Field visit (JEA & GRY)

 

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