Frederick Percy LEYBOURN (Leybourne)
Rank: 2nd Lieutenant
Number:
Unit: 6th Battalion Cheshire Regiment or a Battalion of the Manchester Regiment
Date of Death: 1 November 1918
Age: 25
Cemetery: Y Farm Military Cemetery, Bois-Grenier, France

Frederick is recorded on the Memorial at Stockport Art Gallery as serving with the Cheshire Regiment. This is supported by the information from the Commonwealth War Graves commission which records his primary regiment as the Manchesters and the Cheshires as a secondary Regiment. However, neither the Battalion nor Regimental History of the Cheshires makes any mention of him.

He had been born in Levenshulme, Manchester, the son of Florence and William, on 12 March 1893. The 1901 Census records William, then aged 61 as a cotton salesman and Florence aged 38. William died between January and March 1902. The family home was at 15 Tatton Road North, Heaton Moor.

Frederick worked as a clerk for an insurance company and, on 16 November 1914, he enlisted as a private soldier into the 20th Battalion, Manchester Regiment. His service number was 17410 and he was attached to 8 Platoon, "B" Company. His service papers note that he was 5 feet 4.5 inches tall and weighed 136 pounds. He had a 35 inch chest. The doctor examining him noted, as distinguishing features that he was "very hairy". He went overseas with the Battalion on 9 November 1915 and will  have taken part in the Battalion's during the Battle of the Somme in the summer and autumn of 1916.

During the latter part of the Battle, he undertook an act of bravery for which he was awarded the Military Medal (published in the London Gazette, 19 February 1917) The Medal is the most commonest gallantry medal awarded and details of the act are not normally recorded. He was promoted to Lance Corporal around this time. Around this time, he applied to become an officer.

He left the Manchesters and joined 21 Officer Cadet Battalion at Crookham on 9 March 1917. He completed his training and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant on 27 July. His service papers are unclear, but it is thought that he was assigned to the 19th Manchesters. On 1 February 1918, he joined the 17th Manchesters when the 19th was disbanded.

The History of the 17th Manchesters records that he was wounded during an enemy attack in late April, but this must have been minor as the Battalion's War Diary records that on 22 April (this may be incorrect as the attack took place on the 26th), he was attached to 21st Brigade as Intelligence Office. Some weeks after he died, the London Gazette, 27 December, recorded that he had been "mentioned in despatches", presumably for his action during the attack.

His file does, however, record that at some subsequent point, he was transferred to the 1/5th Battalion of the Manchesters and, shortly before he died, was attached to the 1/6th Cheshires.

Frederick is known to have died from pneumonia, no doubt as a result of the influenza epidemic of 1918. It is probable that, very shortly before he died, he was again transferred from 21st Brigade to the 1/6th Cheshires which was one of its component Battalions. Whilst, as mentioned earlier, he is not listed amongst the casualties in the History of the Cheshire Regiment, he is listed amongst those for the 17th Manchesters. He was at a field hospital (No. 2 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station) when he died

In his will, dated 27 June 1916, Frederick left all his possessions to his mother. These included a cigarette case and holder, wrist watch, 2 photo case and the ribbon for his Military Medal.

   
           
   
     
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