Pilliner, Rupert Colwill Leyborne

Second Lieutenant 127th Bly. 29th Bde., Royal Field Artillery.

Born

Son of Mr. Alfred Massey Pilliner (JP) and Mrs. Edith Margaret. Leyborne Pilliner, of Llanyravon, Newport, Monmouthshire.

Education

Blundell’s School, “Petergate” from the age of 14, January 1906 – Summer 1910.
The Blundellian said of him “Under an unassuming presence he developed within the school Cadet Corps, a character of which Blundell’s may well be proud.”

Service

He was recommended for the Cross of the Legion of Honour for great resourcefulness and devotion during the retreat from Mons.

Death

4th Nov 1914, aged 23.
He was killed by a sniper’s bullet whilst commanding a section a mile behind the infantry lines near Ypres. He was the first loss his division had suffered. His commanding officer wrote in a letter to his father “… apart from Battery work he had been out several times reconnoitring for the brigade forward to the infantry fighting lines, and has done much work for his battery too in that way. This work always involves a good deal of risk and it is this that makes it more distressing that he should have been killed while apparently in no imminent danger. The reports he brought back from these reconnaissances were always most reliable and I placed the greatest confidence in him when engaged in this work – and indeed at all other times.”

Burial/Commemoration

There being no cemetery nearby, he was buried in the battlefield by the regiment’s chaplain near their guns. After the armistice the body was exhumed and reburied in plot II B 12, Trois Arbres Cemetery, Steenwerck, France.

Memorial

Steenwerck is a village on the D77 about 6 kilometres south-east of Bailleul. The site for Trois Arbres Cemetery was chosen for the 2nd Australian Casualty Clearing Station in July 1916, and after the Armistice, graves were brought into it from the battlefields of Steenwerck, Nieppe, Bailleul and Neuve-Eglise. There are now 1,704 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in this cemetery. 435 of the burials are unidentified but there are special memorials to ten casualties known or believed to be buried among them. The cemetery was designed by Sir Herbert Baker.

Research

Commonwealth War Graves Commission - www.cwgc.org
Public Records Office, National Archives, Kew: WO 339/  
“The Blundellian”
“The Register of Blundell's School, Part II 1882 – 1932” (1932) MAHOOD, A.S., Ed. Entry No.5100
“Cemeteries & Memorials in Belgium & Northern France” (2004) Commonwealth War Graves Commission. 5/138

 

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