Herbert Leach

Herbert Leach was born in Hatton on 25th April 1889. He was the son of William Leach (born in Hatton) and his wife Charlotte (nee Walker) who was born in Sandbach.

In 1891 the Leach family were living in Hatton Lane, Hatton and the father was working as an agent to the Prudential Assurance Company. They had seven children at home: Ann Jane (24), William W. (16), Frank (12), George A. (11), Leonard (7), Septimus H. (5) and Herbert (1). Another child, Martha, was visiting a house in the village when the Census was carried out.

Ten years later Herbert’s father was still doing the same job and all the boys in the family were employed except for 11-year old Herbert, who was still at school. Frank was no longer at home in the house near the Wesleyan Chapel in Hatton village.

By 1911 Herbert had left home and was boarding at the house of a tailor in Nantwich. He was living at 12, Pepper Street, Nantwich where he was employed as an assistant teacher for the County Council. His parents now only had William Walker and Ann Jane living at home in Factory Yard in Hatton. The Census recorded that William and Charlotte had had twelve children of whom two had died. His brother, Septimus Henry, would also serve in the Great War.

Herbert trained to be a teacher at Goldsmith’s College in London. His teaching career included work at Daresbury and Acton Council Schools in Cheshire. He joined up prior to the war, on 27th September 1912, at New Cross in London. He was 23 years and 5 days old. However there was no regimental entry at that time. He was home in Cheshire between September 1912 and June 1916 when his war record and service began.

He served in a variety of regiments: 1/20th and 2/20th Londons, known as The Buffs (service numbers 1189 and 630157) and was also recorded as being in the South Lancs Regiment (Territorials). Herbert served 6 years and 145 days in France (June 1916 to October 1916), in Salonica in Greece (December 1916 to January 1918) during which time he became a corporal and was attached to an entrenching battalion. He served in Egypt and Palestine from January 1918 until July 1918, after which he returned briefly to Cheshire and was married to Edith Jeannie Cawley at Monks Lane Congregational Church in Nantwich on 26th August 1918.

He returned to fight in France and was wounded in his left chest wall by enemy action on 27th September 1918. He suffered a shrapnel wound fighting near Cambrai and was treated at 1st Australian General Hospital in Rouen, then sent home to England and admitted to the Dispersal Hospital at Wharncliffe Hospital in Sheffield on 3rd October 1918. He recovered and was discharged after 114 days in hospital on 24th January 1919. Herbert was demobilised at London on 21st February 1919 and returned to his home at High Street in Nantwich.

At some time between the two world wars Herbert and Edith moved to Wooton- under- Edge in Gloucestershire where they lived with their two children, William H. born in 1920 and Barbara J. Born in 1935.

Herbert died on 12th November 1956 at The Royal Hospital in Gloucester and was buried three days later at Wooton-under-Edge. His wife died in York in March 1973.

Herbert Leach was 67 years of age.