Maurice Leach

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Number: 200805                          Unit: 6th
                                         Lincolnshire Regiment

Rank: Private                      Commemorated:
                                 Ploegstreet Memorial France

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PERSONAL DETAILS.

The son of Mr. Charles and Mrs. Amelia Leach of Stixwould Road, Woodhall Spa, Maurice enlisted at Lincoln.  He was just 19 years of age when he died.  I have been unable to establish if he was the brother of J.W. Leach, who is also commemorated on the Memorial. He served with the 4th Lincolns.

SERVICE DETAILS.

Under the Army reforms, introduced by the Secretary of State for War Richard Haldane, of 1907, the existing Yeomanry and Volunteer forces were to be combined under a new organisation to be known as the Territorial Force.  In 1908 the 3 existing volunteer battalions of the Lincolnshire Rifle Volunteers, were reorganised to form the Lincolns 4th and 5th Battalions.  On the outbreak of war in August 1914, the territorial force was immediately mobilised and, as part of the 46th Division, the 4th battalion went overseas.  On the 1st March 1915, both the 4th and 5th Lincolns disembarked at Havre; thus the 46th Division gained the distinction of becoming the first territorial division to arrive in France.  Between the 9th and 26th March the 4th Lincolns proceeded by stages to the front line, arriving at Ploegstreert for instruction in trench duties.

The Regimental History for the Lincolns records the events of the period 13th - 15th April 1918, the period of the German spring offensive.  The 4th Lincolns entrained at Brandhoek during the early afternoon of the 13th arriving at Godewaersvelde and marching onto billets.  At 2.00am on the 14th they were ordered to move to Locre, where they temporarily rested before moving on again to Dranoutre.  Here they seemed to stay for most of the 14th April, for it was early on the 15th April when the 4th Lincolns relieved the 10th Lincolns, at 5.30am.  At about 12.00 noon, the enemy heavily bombarded the positions held by the Lincolns when at 2.30pm this intensified.  At 2.45pm the enemy advanced attacking the 4th Lincolns.  Their line held steady until at about 4.30pm when they were forced to retire.  By 5.25pm the line of the 4th Lincolns was north of the Ravetsberg Road and along the railway cutting between Keersebrom and Hill 75.  A few minutes later, the enemy forced his way over the crest of the hill and broke through the Lincolns line.  Heavy hand to hand fighting ensued until the enemy was checked.  The night of the 15th/16th passed anxiously and orders to retire were received at about 2.30am on the 16th.  The losses to the 4th Lincolns for this period were 11 Officers killed, wounded, or missing, along with 302 other ranks killed, wounded, or missing.  Maurice was one of them. 

 

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