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  • Photo was originally published in the Worksop Guardian.
Courtesy of Robert Illett
Person Details
Worksop, Notts
Leonard French was born in 1897. He was the youngest of four children born to John Thomas and Mary French. Leonard and his elder siblings, Mary, Rachel and Frank, were all born in Worksop, where their mother was a native of and in 1901, the family home was at 80 Kilton, Worksop. The children’s mother, Mary, died in 1909 age 49 but around a year later, John Thomas, her widower, had re-married to Elizabeth Ada Woods, who was a widow with two children, Harry and Francis. In 1911, the family (including Harry and Francis Woods) were recorded living at 40 Stubbing Lane where John Thomas and Frank were working in a local colliery, and 14 year old Leonard was a butchers errand boy.
14 Nov 1916
2750794 - CWGC Website
Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)
Pte Leonard French Worksop Guardian 24 November 1916 It is with regret that we have to record the death from wounds received in action of Pte,.Leonard French, Sherwood Foresters, the son of Mr and Mrs. John French of Sandy Lane , Worksop. It was stated in the “Guardian “ some weeks ago that Pte French had been severely wounded by shrapnel in the shoulder and left leg, and dangerously by a piece of the same shell which had gone through his buttock. This happened on July 14th, in the fighting during the beginning if the big push and Leonard was removed to a base hospital at Rouen. Later Mr. French received a telegram from the University War Hospital, Southampton, saying that his son had been admitted “dangerously wounded” and that a railway warrant had been sent on for his parents to go and see him. Mr. and Mrs., French made two journeys to Southampton after this one. Later, the parents were informed that Leonard had been removed from the dangerously wounded list, and was improving, so that the best hopes were held for his recovery. This however, was not to be. He became worse and despite every effort to save him, he passed away on Nov. 14th, exactly four months after his wounds were received. Pte. French joined up in October, 1914, when seventeen years of age, and left England for France in Feb: of the following year, spending his 18th birthday at the front. Previous to becoming a soldier he was employed at Shireoaks Colliery. His body was brought over from Southampton for his funeral on Monday, and Mrs French was assured that full military honours would be accorded to her brave son, however this was not the case. The local military authorities did nothing, and it was left to the boy’s mother, (the father being ill) to get together four men in Khaki to act as bearers, so as well as bearing the sorrow arising from this sad time, she had to bear up and get done what should have been done by other’s in honour of a local boy who gave his life for his country. The first part of the service was taken in St. John’s Church, the Rev, W Langford officiating, and the body was laid to rest in the New Cemetery. Further article published in the Nottingham Evening Post dated 29th November 1916 reads :- “WITHOUT MILITARY HONOURS “BURIAL OF A WORKSOP SOLDIER. “SIR F. MILNER'S INDIGNATION. “Considerable indignation has been aroused in Worksop by the fact that Private Leonard French, of the Sherwood Foresters, whose home is at Sandy-lane, Worksop, and who was wounded four months ago, and died at Southampton Hospital last week, was not accorded a military funeral when his body was brought home for interment. The poor lad, who was only 19, and enlisted when he was 17, was borne to his grave four on leave soldiers. “The circumstances have evidently come the notice of Sir Frederick Milner, as he writes to the mother as follows: “I have heard with sorrow of the death your gallant son, and I beg to offer you and your husband my heartfelt sympathy. I have read with indignation the scurvy way in which you were treated the military authorities, and I have written the War Office to express my indignation. I often have to feel ashamed at the way in which our gallant men treated by the military authorities, and I work hard try and bring about a better state of things. There nothing too good for these men, and we, for whom they so splendidly fight, should delight to honour them.— With deepest sympathy, truly yours, Fred Milner.”
CWGC additional information:- Son of John Thomas and Mary French, of 111, Mansfield Rd., Pleasley Hill, Pleasley, Mansfield. Born at Worksop. Formerly 18421, Notts and Derby Regt Buried Worksop in an unmarked grave. Research by Colin Dannatt
Remembered on


  • Photo was originally published in the Worksop Guardian.
Courtesy of Robert Illett
    Leonard French - Photo was originally published in the Worksop Guardian. Courtesy of Robert Illett