HERBERT LEIGH 

Rank: Captain
Regiment: 1/7th Bn. Cheshire Regiment
Killed In Action Monday 14th October 1918
Age 34
FromMacclesfield.
County Memorial Macclesfield
Commemorated\Buried Hooge Crater Cemetery
Grave\Panel Ref: XIX.C.11.
CountryBelgium

Herbert's Story.

Born in 1884 at Macclesfield, son of Zebulon and Kate Leigh, 106, Great King Street, Macclesfield. Herbert was educated at Christ Church and then at the Modern School. The 1911 census lists Herbert as working as an advertising clerk. He was also a keen and active member of Macclesfield Cricket Club.

He was a prominent member of the local Cheshire Regiment Territorials, and was for some time a Sergeant Major, but he was not serving at the outbreak of the war. Nevertheless, he immediately joined the 3rd battalion Cheshire Regiment as a private, service number 7/2187, and after serving in the ranks as a Non-Commissioned Officer, he was commissioned 15th December 1915, as a 2nd Lieutenant. He was then drafted to Egypt which was followed by a posting to Palestine. In June 1918, the battalion arrived on the Western Front, here the battalion were engaged in action in the Ypres Salient. Herbert was killed in action 14th October 1918.

The battalion war diary mentions Herbert and there is also a summary of the actions 14th -15th October 1918

14th October 1918

05:35 Attack Commenced, Operation order No.10 dated 11/10/1918. Captain Leigh (Commanding A Coy.) and 2nd Lt C Winnington (C. Coy.) were killed. 2nd Lt G. N. Townsend (B. Coy.) wounded.

 

Summary of Operations 14th - 15th October 1918

In accordance with your BMC65 of todays date I beg to report as follows.

The battalion under my command with the 2/14th London Scottish – 90th Brigade on the right and the 1/4th Cheshire’s on the left attacked at 05.35 on the 14th inst. On a front extending from (sheet 28, SE 1/20000) Q9.C. 5.4. to Q9. G. 6.1.

Immediately the bombardment opened my two front line companies (‘B’ on Right and ‘C’ on left) and the mopping up company (‘A’) closed up as near as possible to the barrage  line, which they followed closely to the first objective.

Over this stage of the attack most of the casualties were sustained, the majority within two or three hundred yards of the jumping off tape, caused by hostile strong points not reached by the initial bombardment.

The L.T.Ms. (Light Trench Mortars) attached to the battalion assisted with H.E. and smoke shells to neutralise the strong points, which were too near the jumping off line to be dealt with by the artillery.

As thick fog and the smoke from the barrage made maintenance of the direction a matter of great difficulty, but, notwithstanding, the front line Coys. And mopping up parties kept well on their objectives.

The first objective was reached to time and the barrage closely followed after the pause to the second (final) objective, where the front line Coys. Consolidated and obtained touch with the flanks, patrols from the support company immediately being sent forward to exploit gains to the front. At this stage of the advance the very thick fog greatly assisted a number of the enemy to escape notwithstanding the energy of the forward patrols.

In the first objective being reached a report centre was established and advance Bn. H.Q moved to FRENZY FARM about 6.30am where much useful work was done in collecting wandering parties of the Brigade, on right and a party of Div. on left and sending them forward to their sector objective and collecting information from the front – also in collecting prisoners coming back in small parties – and sending them to rear in large parties and escorts of small parties back to join the Coys. in front.

By the evening of the day of attack patrols had been pushed up to COUCOU and beyond to WERVICQ – MENIN Railway and along to western outskirts of MENIN where they remained all night.

On the 15th inst. Patrols felt their way forward still further and a company took over posts S.E. of the final objective, and patrols went forward to reconnoitre crossings of LYS South of MENIN.

On the evening of the 15th the battalion was withdrawn to the Brown Line into reserve.

Casualties throughout operations.

2 Officers, 23 other ranks Killed.

1 officer, 81 Other ranks wounded.

13 other ranks missing.

Prisoners approx. 200

Material captured

Minenwerfer 10

M.Gs. 49

In addition to large quantities of rifles, equipment, and ammunition.

 

The Cheshire Roll of Honour would like to thank H.A.G Carlisle for the information on Herbert, Ian Roofthooft for the picture of Herbert's headstone. War diary, operations summary and overlay map by Cheshire Roll of Honour.