Leonard JOHNSON
Rank: Private
Number: 4397
Unit: 1/6th Battalion Cheshire Regiment
Date of Death: 28 August 1916
Age: 36
Cemetery: Abbeville Communal Cemetery, Somme, France

The 1901 Census records the Johnson family living at 21 Bramhall Moor Lane, Hazel Grove. The head of the household was 49 year old Joseph Johnson who was married to Jane. Joseph worked in the local hat manufacturing industry as a blocker and his two sons, 27 year old Oswald and Leonard, then 20, also worked in the industry. There was also a daughter at home, Harriett (then 17 and working as a cotton weaver). Leonard worked as a proofer at Christie's - one of Stockport's major manufacturers and he would continue to do so until he enlisted into the army on 4 October 1915. By now the family was living at Fence Street, in the Stepping Hill area of town.

He joined the 6th Cheshire's; the local Territorial battalion, and trained with them, going overseas on 10 July 1916. He was part of large group of re-enforcements intended for the Battalion. However, it had not seen major action by that time and was virtually at full strength. The men were re-assigned to other battalions and regiments which were in great need of new troops after the losses of the first few days of the Battle of the Somme. On 24th July, Leonard was part of a group of 87 men assigned to the Royal Lancasters (although he was killed before the paperwork caught up with this and he is , therefore, officially recorded as being a soldier of the Cheshire Regiment).

At some point, Leonard was wounded and was in a military hospital when he died. The Battalion had been away from the front line for several days before he died and it cannot be said exactly when he received his wounds. They were in a forward area on the 8th and 9th of August and other local men were killed then. He would have received treatment from the Battalion's own medical officer before being evacuated to a Casualty Clearing Station (field hospital). His condition would have been stabilised before he was further evacuated to one of the two military hospitals at Abbeville. The hospital matron later wrote saying he had been severely wounded in the shoulder and lung and was very ill, but there might soon be an improvement. A further letter said he appeared to have improved and, during the evening, when asked if the gramophone was disturbing him, said he was enjoying it. However, he deteriorated during the night and died.

Further information about Leonard can be found in the book "Hazel Grove to Armageddon" by John Eaton.

   
           
   
     
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