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  • Leslie Hewitt Hardstaff
Person Details
28 Dec 1891
Beeston Nottingham
Leslie Hewitt was the son of John Richard and Ellen Elizabeth Hardstaff (nee Hewitt). John was born in Granby, Leicestershire, in about 1865, the son of Thomas and Louisa Hardstaff. Ellen was born in 1872 in Ilkeston, Derbyshire. They were married in Nottingham in 1891 (J/F/M). According to the details on the 1911 Census they had had six children of whom only four were living at the time of the census. Four children were named on the census of 1901 and 1911: Leslie Hewitt (b. 1891), Richard Cecil (b. 25 Feb 1894), Jack Wilkinson (b. 1902) and Philip Leverton (b. 5 February 1904). All the children were born in Beeston. In 1891 John (26) and Ellen (19) together with Ellen's brother, William L Hewitt (21) were boarders at 5 Hallcroft, Beeston, in the household of Isaac Henson, a bricklayer's labourer, and his wife Lucy, a hosiery worker. John was a wicker basket manufacturer while William Hewitt was a basket maker. By 1901 John and Ellen were living at 23 Meadow Road, Beeston. On the night of the census John was absent from home; he was recorded as a visitor in Guernsey staying at the Royal Hotel, Esplanade Gardens, St Peter Port. Ellen (29) was at home with their two sons, Leslie (9) and Richard (6). Also in the household was Ellen's brother, William (31), who was a Trooper in the 2nd Life Guards. John and Ellen employed a domestic servant, Jane Simpson (40). They were still living at the same address in 1911; Leslie was already serving in the Royal Navy but his younger brothers Richard (17) a scholar, Jack (8) and Philip (7) were in the family home on the night of the census. Also in the household were two servants, Emily Rawlings (23), a housemaid, and Florence Woodward (25) a cook. Leslie married Gladys Mary Page in 1915 (registered O/N/D, Kensington, London). His wife was the only child of Rev John WB Page and Ada Jessie Page. Her father was an Anglican clergyman and he and his wife lived in Canada for a considerable period; their daughter was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on 24 June 1890 and the family appears on the Canadian census of 1891 and 1901. The family had returned to England by 1911 as they appear on the census living at Clopton Rectory, Woodbridge, Suffolk. At the time of Leslie's death in 1916 he was living at Longridge Road, Earls Court, London. His widow later lived at 7 Nevern Place, Earl's Court, London (CWGC). Gladys remarried in 1925 (marriage registered O/N/D, Kensington), marrying Reginald R MacBryan. She died on 1 April 1975 aged 85 (death registered Windsor, Berks). Leslie's younger brother, Richard, also served in the Royal Navy during the war. He gained an aviation certificate (GB Royal Aero Club) on 20 August 1914 at the Eastbourne School, Eastbourne, taken on an EAC biplane. In 1917 he was a flight commander, RFC Naval Wing (RNAS), with a seniority of 30 June 1917. Richard married Maud M Metcalfe in 1916 (registration district Dover, Kent). He died on 24 June 1979 in Denham, Buckinghamshire. Jack was too young to serve in the Great War but he joined the Royal Air Force and was at RAF Duxford (2 FTS) when he was killed in a flying accident at Whittlesford on 16 February 1923 while flying an Avro 504K (H2613). He is buried in SS Mary and Andrew churchyard, Whittlesford, Cambridgeshire. A report of the accident was published in the Nottingham Post on 19 February 1923: 'Pilot Officer Jack Wilkinson Hardstaff RAF who was fatally injured in a flying accident at Duxford, was the second son of Col and Mrs Hardstaff of Seacroft Skegness and formerly of Beeston. He was only 20 years of age.' Leslie's father was a lieutenant colonel in the 7th Sherwood Foresters N&D (TFR) and served in France from 6 June 1917. He applied for the British War Medal and Victory Medal in September 1920 when he was living at 12 Albert Avenue, Seacroft, Skegness, Lincolnshire. At the time of his death on 20 June 1938 his address was the White House, Seacroft, Skegness. His widow died thirty years later in 1968 at the age of 96 (death registered March, Nottingham registration district). Philip married Phyllis Mary Hole (b. 1905) in 1931 (registered A/M/J, Mansfield registration district). Phyllis died aged 63 in 1968 (the same year as her mother-in-law); Philip died in 2000 aged 96.
He was serving in the Royal Navy by 1908.
20 Oct 1916
3057494 - CWGC Website
1644 ASL
Flight Lieutenant
Felixtowe Air Station attd. Adm Aero testing Staff Royal Naval Air Service
Leslie was listed in the 1909 UK Navy List as a Midshipman (probationary) with seniority 27 February 1908. By 1913 he was an Acting Sub-Lieutenant. His seniority as a Flight Lieutenant, Royal Naval Air Service, was 1 January 1916; his substantive rank was Acting Sub Lieutenant RNR (seniority 30 June 1913). Leslie held a Board of Trade Certificate of Competency as First Mate of a foreign-going ship, awarded 14 July 1913 (issue port Liverpool, certificate number 042.227). He was killed when flying at Eastchurch, Kent, in a Sopwith Triplane Scout No. N510, a new design of this aircraft. Tail flutter during a speed test caused the aircraft tail to break off when the aircraft was at a height of only 100 feet. Leslie is buried in Eastchurch (All Saints) churchyard, Kent.
Discrepancies on CWGC record: date of death (given as 28 October 1916), place of birth (given as Skegness) and father's home address (given as Skegness). Nottingham Evening Post, 'Roll of Honour', 24 and 25 October 1916: 'Hardstaff. On the 20th inst. in aeroplane accident, Flight Lieutenant Leslie Hewitt Hardstaff RN in his 25th year.' Probate: Hardstaff Leslie Hewitt of 35 Longridge-road Earls Court Middlesex died 20 October 1916 at Eastchurch Isle of Sheppey Kent Administration London 3 September [1917] to Gladys Mary Hardstaff widow. Effects £167 16s. Probate: Hardstaff John Richard of the White House Seacroft Skegness Lincolnshire died 20 June 1938 Probate Nottingham 22 August to Ellen Elizabeth Hardstaff widow Richard Cecil Hardstaff [son] commercial traveller and Philip Leverton Hardstaff [son] caterer. Effects £11829 15s. 7d. Article published on 27th October 1916 in the Nottingham Dailey Express :- “BEESTON AIRMAN KILLED. “King and Queen's Message to the Widow. “The following telegram has just been received by the widow (now living at Brighton) of Flight-Lieutenant L. H. Hardstaff, eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Hardstaff, of Meadow-road, Beeston, who was killed while testing a new type of aeroplane: –– “The King and Queen deeply regret the loss you and the Navy have sustained by the death of your husband in the service of his country. Their Majesties truly sympathise with you in your sorrow.” “Although only 26 years of age, Lieutenant Hardstaff had had a distinguished career. As a lad of 12 he started his training aboard the Conway, and then became a cadet aboard the White Star training ship Mersey. In seven years he became chief officer. During this period he went round the world seven times, the ship making the trip once a year. Then he attached himself to the Submarine Service, and soon after the outbreak of war he participated in the Cuxhaven fight. Transferring to the Royal Naval Air Service he quickly made good as a pilot, and created a record by flying from London to Dunkirk (France) in 45 minutes. He was only married a year ago, and leaves a child.” Above article is courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918
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  • Leslie Hewitt Hardstaff
    Courtesy of Brian Szowkomud - Leslie Hewitt Hardstaff