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  • Commemorted on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium. (www.cwgc.org)
Person Details
Swanwick Alfreton Derbyshire
Oliver Leslie was the son of John and Elizabeth Bryan (née Rumley). His father John was born in Greetham, Rutland, on 25 July 1851, the son of John and Alice Bryan. He was baptised at Greetham on 4 August 1851. His mother Elizabeth was born in Alfreton, Derbyshire, in 1858 (J/F/M Belper, the daughter of George and Mary Rumley (née Meads). In 1861 the family, including Elizabeth's six siblings, was living in Alfreton; George Rumley, who was born in Southwell, was a labourer. John (31) and Elizabeth (24) were married at Swanwick St Andrew on 28 August 1882 (J/A/S Belpter). They had at least six children: Elizabeth Alice b. Fulwood Nottinghamshire 1882 (O/N/D Mansfield) and John George b. 14 January 1885, Charles Ellis b. 3 January 1888, William Lewis birth registered 1887 (J/F/M Belper), Henry Stanley b. 3 June 1889 and Oliver Leslie birth registered 1891 (J/F/M Belper) who were all born in Swanwick, Derbyshire. In 1891 John, a coal miner, and Elizabeth together with their six children Elizabeth (8), John (6), William (4), Charles (3), Henry (1) and Oliver (under 1 year) were living in Fletchers' Yard, The Green Alfreton. John snr. died in 1892 aged 40 and was buried in Swanwick churchyard on 7 May 1892. His widow married Edward Eyre in 1897 (A/M/J Mansfield) and they had had four children by 1911, two of whom had died in infancy: Frederick b. Morton Derbyshire abt 1898; Ethel Lilian b. 1889 (A/M/J Chesterfield) d. 1900 (J/F/M Mansfield); Alfred Roland (Rowland Alfred) b. 1900 (J/A/S) d. 1901 (J/F/M Mansfield) and Claude Roland b. Claycross Derbyshire birth registered 1902 (J/F/M Mansfield). In 1901 Edward (45 b. North Wingfield), a coal miner, and Elizabeth were living in South Normanton with five children by her first marriage - John and William who were both coal miners, Charles, Stanley and Oliver, and their son Frederick (3). Charles Bryan enlisted in the Royal Marine Artillery in 1906 giving his mother's address as 1 Stoneyford Lane, Sutton in Ashfield. He was working as a coal miner. However, by 1911 Elizabeth and Edward were living in Skegby. Only John, Charles and Oliver, a coal miner/labourer, and Frederick and Claude were still living at home. The CWGC record gives Elizabeth Eyre's address as Ronald Villas, Skegby. She probably died in 1943 (J/F/M Mansfield). At least two of Oliver's brothers, Charles Ellis and Henry Stanley, also served in the war and evidence from the Court of Enquiry into Oliver's death in 1915 suggests that it was they who helped searched for Oliver's body after the trench he was in was severely damaged by a mine. Charles Ellis enlisted in the Royal Marines Artillery (11699) on 14 March 1906 (Nottingham) but was discharged on 30 May the same year on payment of £10. He served in the war in the 1/8th Bn Sherwood Foresters (305053 Corporal) and discharged (sickness) on 7 August 1917 aged 30. He was issued with a Silver War Badge (352412) on 16 March 1918. He married Elizabeth Ann Quick in 1918 (J/F/M Mansfield); they had at least five children: Annie b. 1918 d. 1920, Charles Ellis b. 1920 KIA 1940, Robert L. b. 1923, Mavis b. 1925 and Claude V. b. 1928 d. 1930. They were living in Welbeck Square, Skegby in 1929. His wife Elizabeth and children Robert and Mavis were recorded on the 1939 Register of England & Wales living on Hazel Street, Skegby. Charles and his son of the same name have not yet been traced on the 1939 Register. Charles snr. probably died in 1969 (J/F/M Mansfield). Henry Stanley enlisted in the Special Reserve on a 4 year engagement on 27 November 1911, initially in the 8th Bn Sherwood Foresters (1250). He transferred to embodied service on 5 August 1914 and served in France from 2 March 1915 until 4 December 1915. He transferred to the Labour Corps (326288), probably on 30 June 1917, and then to the Army Reserve (Class P) on 9 September 1918. Henry married Sarah Osborne (b. 1 October 1893) in 1912 (J/A/S Mansfield) and in 1939 they were living in Long Eaton; he was a steel wire braider. Also in the household was Oliver L Bryan (b. 18 February 1923) a tool makers' apprentice) and Mary A Fretwell (b. 22 September 1912) a widow. The record of another member of the household remains closed. Henry died in 1942 (O/N/D Shardlow). Oliver's two other brothers, John and William, may not have been conscripted in the war - both were coal miners. John George, a colliery hewer, was living in Southwell in 1939 with his wife Ada Ellen (b. 8 February 1890). He probably died in 1960 (J/F/M Mansfield). William Lewis married Gertrude Hannah Hardy (b. 19 November 1887) in 1907 (J/F/M Mansfield). In 1911 they and their two children, Ivy May (5) and William Lewis (3), were living on Stanton Hill, Skegby, with Gertrude's parents. In 1939 William and Gertrude were living in Clowne, Derbyshire. He died in 1955 and was buried in Barlborough churchyard, Derbyshire on 12 May. Their sister Elizabeth Alice married Richard Maddison Young in Chesterfield on 16 April 1900. In 1911 they and their eight children were living in Chesterfield with Richard's parents. Elizabeth probably died in 1957 (O/N/D Chesterfield).
He was a coal miner.
15 Jun 1915
929698 - CWGC Website
Residence Skegby Nottinghamshire, enlisted Sutton in Ashfield
1/8th Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment)
'C' Coy 1/8th Battalion Sherwood Foresters The 8th battalion was in the area of Kemmel when Oliver Leslie and another soldier from the battalion, Pte Alfred Cook, were reported missing on 15 June 1915. They were in J3 Right trench, within 30-70 yards of the German trenches, when at 9.10pm a portion of the trench was blown up by one of three mines exploded by the enemy. The battalion's casualties that day included two officers, a corporal and eight men killed. It was the last day of the Battalion's tour in that position. Oliver's two brothers, 1198 Private C [Charles] Bryan and Pte S [? Henry Stanley] Bryan, and Pte Harold Cook, the brother of Alfred Cook, later helped in the search for their brothers. Following a Court of Inquiry, Oliver's death in the field was confirmed as having taken place on 15 June. His body was not recovered and he is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium (Panel 39 and 41). Information taken from documents of the Court of Inquiry in Alfred's Army Service Record ('burnt' records): Court of Enquiry in the field 29 July 1915 into the circumstances under which No. 1199 Pte O Bryan and No. 950 A Cook were (-) to be missing on (-) June. President GS Heathcote 1/8th Sherwood Foresters and Members Lieutenant CM Houfton and 2nd Lieutenant E Stanley Strachan 1/8 Bn Sherwood Foresters. The Court having assembled pursuant to order, proceeded to take evidence. 1st Witness. 2406 Sgt HG List, 'C' Coy 1/8th Sherwood Foresters (platoon sergeant): ‘On the night of the 15th June about 9.15pm I saw Pte (-) Bryan and A Cook in J3 right trench a few minutes afterwards this trench was blown up, and I was buried. After the explosion I was rescued by a party from J3 trench. The above mentioned men were then searched for and could not be traced. I cannot throw any further light on the case.' 2nd Witness. No 2088 H Cook ‘C’ Coy 1/8th Sherwood Foresters: ‘On the night of the 17th in company with (-) C Bryan 1198 and Pte S Bryan (No.) (both brothers of one of the missing men) … J3 R to make a further search. On arriving … ascertained from Capt. Bradwell (-) Sherwood Foresters, that thorough searching had been carried out during the previous forty (?hours) but without result. It was impossible for myself and Ptes Bryan to make further searches owing to the conditions prevailing at the time I searched the trench' Opinion: I consider that the Court has elicited all information possible in the enquiry. There is no doubt in any (-) that these two men were killed when the trench J3 (right) was blown up by the enemy, and that their bodies have been buried in the debris of the trench. Close search was impossible owing to the proximity of the enemy trench (about 60 yards). Signed by President and Members. Above findings agreed by CJ Shipley Commanding 139th Brigade. There is a note in Alfred's service record that the original documents of the Court of Inquiry were filed with 1199 Pte OL Bryan’s documents.
950 Private Alfred Cook, 1/8th Bn Sherwood Foresters, who was killed in the same incident as Private Bryan is also commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate|) Memorial. Alfred's brother, Harold, who also served in the 1/8th Bn Sherwood Foresters (2088 Private) and helped search for his brother and Private Bryan and also gave evidence at the Court of Enquiry, was killed in action on 15 June 1916. (See records on this Roll of Honour). Two members of the Court of Enquiry were also killed in the war: Lieutenant Charles Morley Houfton on 12 November 1915 (see record on this Roll of Honour) and Second Lieutenant Edward Stanley Strachan on 14 October 1915 (Loos Memorial); his family came from London. 1/8th Bn casualties, 15 June 1915: Lieutenant AFO Dobson (grave ref. D.64), Lieutenant WH Hollins (D.70), Corporal F Wilcox (D.71), Privates AE Armitage (D.65), B Cox (D.67), FW Hill (D.66), P May (D.72), RW Moakes (D.69) and W Richardson (D.68) buried Kemmel Chateau Military Cemetery and Privates OL Bryan and A Cook commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial. Mansfield Reporter, 25 June 1915: 8th Sherwood Foresters Ranks Thinned … No. 1199 Pte. OL Bryan C Company, missing, Next of kin mother – Skegby Forest, Notts. No. 950 Private A Cook C Company, missing. Next of kin father - Park-street, Sutton-in-Ashfield. (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Mansfield Reporter, 25 June 1915: ‘The 8th Sherwoods Badly Damaged. This interesting letter has been received by Mrs Wilson, wife of Ald. JL Wilson, from her son who is at the front. In the letter, which refers to the death of Lance Corporal Charlie Wilson, he adds that he attended Charlie’s burial ‘in a special ground we have in a village, just behind our lines’ [Kemmel Chateau Military Cemetery] Just as we were waiting for the chaplain (about 9.15pm) there came from the trenches a terrific report, followed by two others almost instantly. At the same time the sky was lighted up by [a] tremendous flash, followed by a continuous roar of rifle fire and artillery. Of course, we knew immediately that it was a mine blown up, and that it must have been a German one, too. I cannot describe to you what it was like, but for at least an hour the roar was simply deafening.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk Oliver's nephew, Charles Ellis Bryan, the son of his brother Charles Ellis, served in the 8th Bn Sherwood Foresters (4976050 Private) in the Second World War. He was killed in Norway on 25 April 1940 aged 20 and was buried in Lillehammer Northern Civil Cemetery. (CWGC ref. 2186649)
Remembered on


  • Commemorted on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium. (www.cwgc.org)
    Oliver Leslie Bryan - Commemorted on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium. (www.cwgc.org)