Leonard Dixon Cummins

Leonard Dixon Cummins*

Leonard Dixon Cummins*

Date of birth: 1893
Place of birth: Southampton
Service No.: 10211
Rank: Gunner
Regiment: Royal Horse and Royal Field Artillery
Battalion: W 19th Trench and Mortar Battery
Died: 21st May 1917 aged 22 years
Death location: France and Flanders

 

Before the War
Leonard was born in Southampton in 1893, the youngest of 4 children  born to Alfred (1863 – 1936) and Kate Eliza (nee Smith, 1862 – 1949).  His parents were married in Southampton in 1884.

Leonard’s siblings – 1 sister and 2 brothers – were:

Graham (1885 – 1966)
Graham served in WW1.  He served as Sergeant 6765 with the Hampshire Regiment, Sergeant 27470 and finally Acting Warrant Officer Class 2, both in the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry.  He was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, the Victory and British War Medals.
He married Alberta May Howland (17/01/1892 – 1986) in Southampton in 1926.

Dudley Dennett Cummins (1887 – 29/10/14)
Dudley served in WW1 and was killed in action on 29th October 1914.  He is remembered on the Menin Gate Memorial.
Please select Dudley’s name to read more of his story.

Grace Louise (1889 – 1935).  Grace never married.

The 1891 census shows that Leonard’s mother, brothers, and sister were living at 18 Howards Grove, Shirley, Southampton.  His father was recorded as living and working as a Groom at Northlands House Stables, Banister Road, Southampton.  In the 1890s some of the local gentry moved out of town and built imposing red-brick villas, complete with stables, in Northlands Road.

When the 1901 census was taken Leonard was living with his family at 6 Railway View, Upper Ivy Road, St Deny’s, Southampton.  His father is employed as a Brewers Drayman.

The 1911 census records the family at the same address and Leonard was working as a Stable Lad.  Graham is serving in Africa and Mauritius with the 2nd Hampshire Regiment and Dudley was serving in Egypt with the 1St Battalion of the Scots Guards.

 

Military History
Leonard was the youngest of three brothers who fought in World War One and served as a Gunner in the Royal Field Artillery.  When he died he was serving in the ‘W’ 19th Divisional Trench Mortar Battery.

From: http://www.1914-1918. net :

‘Trench mortar tactics

Trench mortars were used in a variety of defensive and offensive roles, from the suppression of an enemy machine-gun, sniper post or other local feature, to the coordinated firing of barrages. Larger mortars were sometimes used for cutting barbed wire, especially where field artillery could not be used, either because of the danger of hitting British troops or where the effect of the fire could not be observed. Experience on the Somme revealed that use of Stokes mortars in an offensive close-support role had been limited by the reluctance of some commanders to sacrifice rifle strength to provide parties required to carry the ammunition which the weapons so quickly consumed.’

Leonard was killed in action on 21st May 1917.

He was awarded the Victory and British War Medals

Leonard is buried in La Clytte Military Cemetery.  Grave Reference: II. B. 19.  The cemetery is located near Ieper, Belgium and was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.  How fitting that Sir Edwin also designed the Southampton Cenotaph.

The village of La Clytte ( now called De Klijte) was used as Brigade Headquarters and 250 of the  burials are those of Artillery personnel.  The cemetery was expanded after the war and graves were brought in from surrounding areas.  The inscription on Leonard’s headstone reads:

‘102211 Gunner L. D. Cummins
Royal Field Artillery
21st May 1917 Age 22
Thy Will Be Done’

With very grateful thanks to Caroline and Andrew for  the wonderful photo.
*This photograph is the copyright of the family of Leonard Dixon Cummins.  Please do not use this photograph without their permission.

 

Researcher: Jackie Chandler
Published: 31st July 2015
Updated: Insert dates here

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