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Private Leonard Dickens

43473 11th Battalion Suffolk Regiment

Son of Mr William & Mrs Eliza Dickens

Aged 22 years

Died 10th April 1918

Commemorated on Ploegsteert Memorial
Panel 3.

Born and enlisted at Rushden.
The Rushden Echo, 20th August, 1915, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rushden Soldier Wounded - Private Leonard Dickens

Injured by Shrapnel - Now In Hospital

Private Leonard Dickens, D Company, 2nd Battalion of the East Surrey Regiment, who enlisted at the end of last year, has been wounded, and is now in hospital at Leicester, arriving there last Saturday morning. Pte. Dickens is the son of Mr. Arthur Dickens, formerly of Harborough-road, Rushden, and now of Chaucer-road, Bedford. At one time Mr. Dickens was in business as a builder at Rushden – with his brother, the firm being styled Dickens Bros. – and they were the builders of the Independent Wesleyan Church, High-street, Rushden. Mr. Arthur Dickens is now foreman for Mr. Robert Marriott, builder, of Rushden.

Pte. L. Dickens, who is a grandson of the late Mr. Corbett, of Little-street and Harborough-road, Rushden, is suffering from a shrapnel wound in the shoulder, the injury having been received during the August Bank Holiday week. He is now, we are glad to state, making substantial progress towards recovery. While he was living in Rushden Pte. Leonard Dickens was a member of the Park-road Baptist Church.

The Rushden Echo Friday 27 April 1917, transcribed by Nicky Bates

Rushden Soldier Killed With a Trench Mortar Battery - Private CH Checksfield

Unofficial news has just been received that Pte Charles Herbert Checksfield, - Suffolk Regt, son of Mrs Checksfield, of 12 Spencer road, Rushden, has been killed in action in France. The news is sent by a comrade, Pte Leo Dickens, son of Mrs W Dickens, Harborough road, Rushden, to Pte Checksfield's wife, who is residing with Mrs Jaques, Park road, Rushden, and there seems to be little doubt as to the correctness of the report.

Pte C H Checksfield, who was aged about 29 years, joined the Colours in March, 1916, and went out to France in the following June, doing service with a trench mortar battery right up to the time of his death.

Two brothers of the deceased soldier, Harry in the Beds. Regt., and Fred in the Suffolks, are at present serving in the firing line.

The Rushden Echo Friday 10 May 1918, transcribed by Nicky Bates

Rushden's Casualty List

Mr and Mrs William Dickens, of 55 Harborough-road, Rushden, have heard unofficially of the death in action of their youngest son, Lance-Corpl Leonard Dickens, Suffolk Regiment. The sad news is sent by a comrade, who wrote under date April 3rd [sic] to the deceased soldier's sister as follows: "It is with very great regret that I have heard of the death of your dear brother Len, and being one of his eldest chums, I feel it my painful but bounden duty to write expressing my sympathy with you in the sad loss you have all sustained by his being killed in action. Although I was not in the battery with him I have made inquiries of his comrades, and learnt that he was shot through the stomach, and as the onrush of the enemy was very heavy they were reluctantly forced to leave him behind. Poor old Len, he was such a good pal, and I shall miss his smiling face very much. I could hardly believe he was killed, for just previous to going in the line we were talking and joking together, and he was saying how nice it seemed to get back on a quiet part of the front, but, alas, shortly afterwards the guns burst forth with all the fierce intensity of the Somme, so transferring what was a quiet part into hell. Ah! little did I dream when I said 'Good-night' to him that evening that we should not see one another again. All my mates have gone now, and being as we all were trained together and came out together it makes it all the harder to part... He was always so very cheerful under all sorts of circumstances which we have to endure, and I shall never forget him. I am sure it must have come as a great shock to you, but I trust you will find consolation in the fact that he died a hero's death, fighting for his King and country, and what can a man do more?" The late Lce-Corpl Dickens, who had been in France over two years, joined up in January, 1916, going to the Western front about three months later. He was 22 years of age, and at the time of enlistment was employed at the C.W.S Boot Works, Rushden. As a lad he passed through the Park-road Baptist Sunday School, Rushden and his name is inscribed on the Roll of Honour of that church. Mr and Mrs Dickens have two other sons serving their country, viz., Pte Albert Dickens and Driver Ralph Dickens, both of whom are in France.

The Roll of Honour, Marquis de Ruvigny, London, Standard Art Book Company. 1917-1918 Volume 2, part 4, transcribed by Nicky Bates

DICKENS, Leonard L-Corpl, No 43478, 11th (Service) Battalion, Suffolk Regiment. Son of William Dickens, of 55 Harborough-road, Rushden, co Northants, by his wife Eliza, dau of Uriah King; born Rushden, Co. Northampton, 5th March 1896; educated Church of England School there; joined the Suffolk Regiment 28th Jan, 1916; served with the Expeditionary Force in France and Flanders from 28th June following, being employed as a Trench Mortar Battery, and was killed in action at Armentieres, 10th April, 1918. Buried where he fell. Unmarried.

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