Private Leonard William Carver

Leonard William Carver

Regiment: 2/6th Battalion, North Staffordshire Regiment
Service No: 40988
Date & place of birth: 20 July 1898 in Lodsworth or Tillington
Date & place of death: 30 November 1917 in Cambrai, France aged 19

The Carver family suffered losses in both world wars. George Thomas ‘Ratty’ Carver, not only lost his son Leonard William in World War 1, but also his grandson Charles John ‘Johnny’ Carver who died as a result of the Petworth School bombing in World War 2.

Family background

Leonard William Carver was born on 20 July 1898 in either Lodsworth or Tillington, the son of George Thomas ‘Ratty’ Carver, a rat and rabbit catcher, and his second wife, the widow Fanny Laverton née Sageman. They lived at Leggatt Hill in Lodsworth. Leonard was baptised on 2 October 1898 at St Laurence Church, Lurgashall.

The 1911 Census records him as a schoolboy living with parents at Leggatt Hill and from there he presumably attended Lodsworth National School.

Military career

Leonard’s attestation papers show that he enlisted in West Lavington on 22 August 1916 as Private 40988, 2/6th Battalion, North Staffordshire Regiment, part of the Army’s 46th North Midland Division.

Death & commemoration

Leonard was reported missing, presumed killed in action, in the Battle of Cambrai in Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France on 30 November 1917 aged 19.

The battalion’s war diary records:

  • 28 November 1917 – The battalion takes over the front line system in Bourlon Wood relieving 1st Welsh Guards.
  • 29 November 1917 – Our position heavily shelled by the enemy.
  • 30 November 1917 – The battalion again heavily shelled especially D Company when casualties were very heavy. In this bombardment the enemy used shrapnel and gas shells and although heavy casualties the battalion held the line.

Leonard has no known grave but is commemorated on Panel 9 of the Cambrai Memorial and on the Lodsworth war memorial.

Subsequent family history

Leonard’s brother, George Henry, also served in World War 1 but survived.

Leonard’s mother Fanny died in 1939 aged 73 and his father George died in 1951 aged 86. George was buried in St Peter’s churchyard in Lodsworth.

George Carver not only lost his son Leonard William in World War 1, but also his grandson Charles John ‘Johnny’ Carver died as a result of his injuries in the Petworth School bombing in World War 2.

Midhurst U3A WW1 War Memorial Project