Every day on the British Army Ancestors Facebook page I take time to commemorate a British soldier. This post will look at three of the men I have remembered recently; from left to right: William Fletcher, Regie Fletcher and Leonard Mann.
William George Fletcher, on the left, and his brother Reginald William Fletcher, both studied at Balliol College, Oxford and both have biographies in the Balliol College War Memorial Book 1914-1919.
‘Regie’, a second lieutenant serving with 11 Battery, Royal Field Artillery, was killed near Gheluvelt on the 31st October 1914. His brother George, serving with the 2nd Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, was killed at Bois-Grenier on the 20th March 1915 whilst superintending the building of the trench breastwork.
“They were in many ways markedly different in mind and character,” reads the narrative in the Balliol College book, “but the similarity of the course of their lives, the likeness of their interests and attitude to life, and their close companionship – ‘each thought the other the greatest man he knew’ said a friend – makes it hard to think of them except together.”
22250 Sgt Leonard Gaze Mann is the wounded artilleryman in this photo wedding party photo from the 22nd September 1917. The groom standing next to him is 2nd Lieutenant Ernest Frank Dyer, also of the Royal Field Artillery.
Such familiarity between non-commissioned ranks and officers was not encouraged, but Lt Dyer had been promoted from the ranks and his number, 22249, suggests that he and Leonard had joined up at the same time and probably served together overseas.
This is a happy occasion, a momentary lapse from the carnage of battle, and both Leonard and Ernest would survive the war.