Skip to main content
Twixt Branding

Return to search

Fred Leather

Date of birth: 1894
Date of death: 21.11.1917
Area: Wrenthorpe
Regiment: King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
Family information: Son of Thomas and Harriet Leather
Rank: Private
Service number: 27045

War Service

Fred enlisted at Private 27045 in the KOYLI 2nd/4th Battalion and in November 1917 they were in the Havrincourt area. At 6.20am on 20th November they took part in an attack. According to the war diary the objective was “a section of the German front line trench running from Vesuvius to Oxford Road … and a line running west from the northwest corner of Havrincourt”. It went on to say that “The attack was completely successful, objectives being gained by 8.30am.” On 21st November the battalion “moved forward at mid-day at K.11.d and remained there for the rest of the day”. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission puts his death on that day, however another report said he was wounded on the 20th and died on the 22nd. The diary states that during that attack they lost 11 officers and 211 other ranks killed, wounded or missing.
Fred was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal and was buried in the Rocquigny-Equancourt Road British Cemetery, Manancourt. His death was reported in the Wakefield Express December 8th 1917:
“Mrs Leather of Wheel Hill, Bragg Lane End, Wrenthorpe, has received official information that her son, Corporal Fred Leather KOYLI died of wounds on November 22nd, having been wounded on November 20th. He was a single man and before enlistment he was employed by a carting agent. His mother has received a letter from one of the officers, expressing deep regret at the loss of a good solider who was marked for further promotion.”
Although he was “Corporal” in this report, in all other records he was Private including the memorial put in the same edition by his family:
“LEATHER In loving memory of Private Fred Leather KOYLI died of wounds in France November 21st 1917 aged 24 years, the youngest son of Mrs T Leather, Wheel Hill, Bragg Lane End, near Wakefield.”

Family Life

Fred was baptised at St Anne’s Wrenthorpe on 17th October 1894, his parents were Thomas (a miner) and Harriet of Wrenthorpe. In 1901 the family were living at Wheel Hill, Bradford Road and Tom and Harriet had three sons and three daughters at home including Ernest, Fred’s older brother (b 1882) who was also killed in action and who was working as a coal way cleaner underground in the colliery. Ellen (b 1884) and Sophia (b 1887) were working as domestic servants, whilst Dennis (b 1890), Fred and Edith (b 1898) were below working age. They also had two boarders, one of whom was Albert Clifton who was killed in action in 1915 and next door lived Fred Byton who also gave his life during the war.

In 1911 they were still on Wheel Hill with Fred now working as a groom. The census records that Tom and Harriet had produced 12 children but sadly half that number had already died. Dennis was working on a market garden while Fred was a groom and Edith was now 13. Fred’s married sister Sophia and family were also living with them. Fred’s father Tom died five years later in 1916.

Rocquigney-Equancourt Road British Cemetery with rows of gravestones Rocquigney-Equancourt Road British Cemetery

Return to search