LEACROFT, Ronald John Ranulph (MC)

Captain, 1st Bn., Somerset Light Infantry.

Born

Younger of the two sons of Edward R. and Alice Leacroft, of Rowberrow Manor, Winscombe, Somerset.

Education

Blundell's School, as a “Westlake” boy during 1903 - 1911.
Both brothers were educated at Blundell’s School between 1903 and 1911, where they were known as “Romulus and Remus”. RJR was a school monitor and was a distinguished member first of the choir and then of the bugle band, winning the silver bugle twice in succession besides being twice member of the winning choir in the Glee competition.

Service

Both brothers joined the Somerset Light Infantry in which RJR Leacroft received his commission in March 1913 and was wounded at Mons. In February 1915 he was made Captain after being awarded the Military Cross.

Trench Diaries

The 1st Bn. Somerset L I were part of 11th Brigade, 4th Division. At 10pm on the 30th June the brigade marched from Mailly-Maillet to assembly positions on the right of Serrre Road, Redan Ridge. The war diary notes that they advanced to attack on the 1st July in magnificent style but having entered the enemy’s first line devastating fire came from the Quadrilateral and desperate fighting with bomb and bayonet followed and losses by 10pm amounted to 464 men.

Death

1st July 1916, aged 22.
The Redan, Somme, France.

Burial/Commemoration

Grave C40, Redan Ridge No. 1 Cemetery.
Initially buried near “The Redan”, a group of British front-line trenches of 1916, situated North of Beaumont Hamel, he was moved to Redan Ridge No. 1 in the spring of 1917 when those battlefields were cleared. The Cemetery, made by the V Corps. is on top of the Ridge at Beaumont Hamill, Somme.

Memorial

His headstone is at 50° 05’ 33.9” N 002° 39’ 07”E.
The family chose not to have a motto inscribed on the headstone.

Research

Commonwealth War Graves Commission - www.cwgc.org
The Blundellian, July 1916 p 246
The National Archives, Kew WO 339/
Cemeteries & Memorials in Belgium & Northern France (2004) Commonwealth War Graves Commission. 25/467
“British battalions on the Somme” WESTLAKE, R. (2004) Pen and Sword
Field visit (JEA & GRY 28/7/2006)

 

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