1918-2008: Ninety Years of Remembrance

Soldier Record

Leonard William Groves

Contributed by: Anthony Groves, on 2008-11-06

Leonard William Groves
First Name Leonard William
Surname Groves
Year of Birth 1894
Year of Death 1988
Regiment Royal Field Artillery
Place of Wartime Residence Netherfield, Oxfordshire

Leonard William's Story

My grandfather, Leonard William Groves was born in the railway village of Netherfield on the 19 Dec 1894. His father William Blyton Groves was a railway engine driver. LWG was the only son, but had three sisters, Elizabeth, Gladys and Ethel. They lived in a terraced house at 11 Bourne St, Netherfield. Being the only son meant that he had a mother and three sisters who doted on him.

A very gentle man, a woodcarver and cabinet maker, Called by his country in 1915.

He was a man of above normal intelligence, who completed his schooling and had a natural aptitude for art, drawing and making anything from a piece of wood. He was also a carver of wood and between the wars and after WW2, became a respected maker of furniture and restorer of wood for churches.

He was called for service on the 25 Oct 1915, to join the Royal Horse and Royal Field Artillery. His Regimental No was 1622. I have his original Army forms of Certificate of Employment Z18, Protection Certificate and Cert. of Identity Z11, Certificate of Transfer to Reserve on Demobilization and his Promise of employment after the war, with a signed letter of re-employment by his former employer Army Form Z16A.

I have about 20 letters written by him to his mother,father and sisters. They are always written in a kind and sensitive way, sometimes he used an Army form AFA2042, Field Service Postcard, just to let everyone Know he had recieved a letter and was okay, (I presume security and censoreship were in place) and the letters were usually on paper and envelopes from the Church Army or occasinally by the YMCA. They were invariably written in pencil and even today with his very tidy writing style are very legible.

They mention him looking forward to the issue of his first horse whilst training in Romsey, Hants and later a thank you letter for some knitted socks and half a crown spending money. He said in a letter how important socks were, because it rained a lot and they were always wet! His letters nearly always included some form of religious comment, perhaps they all had to believe that the good lord was keeping an eye on them, I don`t think the General Staff were.

At onepoint in Jan 1917, he was treated for an abscess on his bum, initially at an Australian Field Hospital, his mother was informed by Army formA2042a, Advice of Admission to Hospital and subsequently tranferred home to the 3rd Scottish General Hospital at Stobhill in Glasgow. Perhaps a blessing in disguise. He returned to France for further duties.

After the war he returned to his craft, was married, had four children and kept a beautiful garde of flowers and vegeatables. When WW2 started, his employers, William Lawrence & Co., made aircraft parts, but were prominent glider manufacturers, a great use of his skills. He also became an Officer in the Home Guard. My Dad and Aunt Margaret enlisted in the army and they said that good fun was had constantly walking past my Grandad practiscing their saluting.

He was a wonderful person, so kind and humane. It must have been awful as part of the BEF in France and he must have lost so many comrades. He would never talk about the war and I think he struggled to wear a poppy... it had the name Haig on it!

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