Arras Memorial

Rank: Gunner
Service No: 153216
Date of Death: 22/03/1918
Regiment/Service: Royal Garrison Artillery 324th Siege Bty.
Panel Reference Bay 1.

Additional Information:

Born in 1893 at Bampton Devon, son of Charles Henry (Miller) and Martha Heyward. Nephew of William Heyward at Woodford Green. His father died on 05-06-96, leaving Martha to carry on as a Corn Miller at the family home, Shillingford Mills in Bampton. Leonard was there with his family as a 9 year old scholar in 1901.

By 1911 he was living and working as a Fruiterer with his Uncle William Heyward at the Greengrocers shop next to the Saddler at Woodford Green. In 1913 he married Letitia Privatt, and had set up his own business in Church End, but that was closed down when he was called up in 1917. He enlisted at Epping, serving with 324 Siege Battery RGA.

At 04.40 on 21-03-18 the Germans began the biggest artillery barrage of the war, covering an area of 150 square miles and using various ordnance including gas. The Infantry then attacked British lines in the first of several assaults during what became known as the “German Spring Offensive and the Second Battle of the Somme.” By then end of the day they were through the first and second lines of defence over one quarter of the British front line, and elements of 5th Army were falling back towards the River Somme. A “Fighting Retreat” was ordered while reinforcements were rushed forward.

Although as part of the 2nd Army, Leonard was not subjected to the main German attack, he was Killed in Action by shellfire while manning his gun on 22-03-18.

The German advance had many tactical successes, but began to lose strategic direction. When allies consolidated their forces the “Spring Offensive” lost momentum, and the Germans would later be forced to relinquish the territory they had taken.

X/R L/C Sidney Charles Heyward (Cousin)

Memorial: Rolls of Honour Woodford United Free Church. St Marys Church.
Separate Folder: NO.
Principal Sources: Ancestry. Woodford Times.
Qualification: Borough Resident.