1918-2008: Ninety Years of Remembrance

Soldier Record

Leonard Jennings

Contributed by: KCC Maidstone Library, on 2008-12-31

Private Leonard Jennings
First Name Leonard
Surname Jennings
Year of Birth 1892
Year of Death 1988
Regiment Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment
Place of Wartime Residence North Cadbury, Somerset

Leonard's Story

Leonard Jennings was a Private with the Welsh Horse & later the Queens Own Royal West Kent Regiment. He was not a tall man but very strong as a result of his work as a baker. Punching the bread helped him excel as an amateur boxer. He was not fast on his feet but, if his punch connected, opponents would crumple! His injury through poison gas occured when his unit was in retreat under heavy artillery fire. His pal called out: "help me Len, they have got me." He pulled the friend into a shell hole but made no progress because his gas mask was too big and cumbersome. So, he pulled the mask off. He then patched up his friend and completed the retreat. Later, he was court-martialed for showing disrespect for his majesty's property. He argued and won his case and was carried shoulder high by his friends. When taken prisoner in August 1918, he bribed a German guard to obtain an English- German dictionary. This enabled him to become the camp interpreter, (known as Dull Major after the German word for interpreter: dolmetscher.) When released from captivity at the end of the war he received (an apparently hand-written,) letter from George V, the king whose 'property' he had 'disrespected.' "The Queen joins me on welcoming you on your release from the miseries and hardships, which you have endured with so much patience and courage." Later on in life, the impact of his injury became obvious. He was declared 20% disabled, suffered heart damage and had his teeth turn green. His wife refused to marry a man with green teeth, so he had them removed shortly before his wedding! (She wasn't that keen on marrying a man with no teeth either!) Despite his disablement, he lived until the age of 96.

After the war he was declared 20% disabled, yet he lived to the age of 96.

This soldier record has been added on behalf & with permission of Derek Jennings.

Picture shows: Private Leonard Jennings & the inscription on his English- German dictionary

Other memories

No additional memories have been submitted

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