Leonard MASSEY
Rank: Sapper
Number: 198604 or WR259922
Unit: Railway Operating Division ROYAL ENGINEERS
Date of Death: 30 May 1918
Age: 25
Cemetery: Longuenesse Sounvenir Cemetery, St Omer, Pas de Calais, France

Leonard's father, William, worked on the railways and it is possible that Leonard did as well. The Railway Operating Division was responsible for the construction and maintenance of the vital tracks that brought men and supplies to the forward battle areas. Many of its members had been railwaymen in civilian life and brought their specialist skills with them into the army.

However, when Leonard first enlisted, soon after War was declared, he joined the Royal Field Artillery and was given the service number W/4052. His medal entitlement records, at the National Archives, confirm that he served abroad with the Artillery but appears to have been quickly transferred to the Engineers. It is not known to which Company of Engineers Leonard was assigned so it cannot be established what happened to him. He is, however, known to have been wounded in action and died whilst in a military hospital at St Omer.

In the weeks preceding his death, the German Army had undertaken a series of large scale attacks driving back the British forces. Things became so desperate that all available troops were rushed to the defences. This may well have included Leonard's Company who would have been trained to fight but would only be called on under these sort of extreme circumstances.

After the War, William and Harriett Massey were living at 23 Brinksway, Stockport. Leonard is known to have had at least two younger siblings - Annie and Allen.

   
           
   
     
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