Thursday, November 20, 2008

Albert Leggett

Albert Leggett's service record survives as a burnt document in the WO 363 series at the National Archives. Ancestry has just made service records I-N available on-line and so, twenty odd years after I first transcribed Albert's entry in Nurse Oliver's album, I have been able to find out more about him. I've now written up my notes and updated Albert's page on the website.

Albert was not a resident of Chailey but a wound on a battlefield in France would ensure that he would soon be acquainted with the parish. He enlisted with the Northamptonshire Regiment at Norwich in April 1915. By the end of July that year he was in France and, posted to the regular 1st Battalion, would fight through Loos and the Battle of the Somme until severely wounded at Pozieres in August 1916. He was in hospital in France for just under a month and then, returning to England in September 1916, would spend at least another ten weeks in hospitals in England; first to the 2nd Eastern General Hospital at Brighton and then to Beechlands (or Beechland House) in Newick. Later transferred to the 2/5th Scottish Rifles and then the RAMC, Albert would spend the rest of the war in England. The leave that he was granted from hospital in December 1916 was beneficial to Albert and his wife. In September 1917 their second child was born.

Albert was discharged from the army in March 1919 and two months later, a grateful country, acknowledging that his wound amounted to a 20 per cent degree of disablement, awarded him a weekly pension of five shillings and sixpence, to be reviewed twelve months later. Subsequent Board papers do not survive but it seems likely, given the many other soldiers' papers I have seen, that his award was reduced.

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