Leonard Stanley PRICE
Rank: Private
Number: 87175
Unit: 107th Company MACHINE GUN CORPS
Date of Death: 5 August 1917
Age: 20
Cemetery: Potijze Chateau Grounds Cemetery, Ieper, Belgium

In the late 1880s, Herbert Price and Agnes Chandler married at St Paul's Church Portwood. They would have at least four children together, before she died in 1903. The family home was at 16 Earl Street, Edgeley. In 1904, Herbert married Emma Millward and, at some point, they moved to 122 Lowfield Road.

Nothing is known about Leonard's early life but from leaving school he had worked for the London & North Western Railway Ltd and, before joining the army, had been a junior porter at London Road Station in Manchester (now Manchester Piccadilly). He originally enlisted into the Cheshire Regiment and his service number was 5579. The number probably dates to an enlistment in 1916 but Leonard never served aboard with the Regiment. He was, no doubt, transferred to the machine gunners after he finished his training.

Machine Gun Companies operated 16 heavy Vickers guns, each with a seven man team. When in the trenches, they would deploy along the Brigade's sector with their fields of fire inter-locked so the crossfire could cut down any attacking enemy infantry. The last few days of Leonard's life are documented in the Company's War Diary, held at the National Archives at Kew. The Third Battle of Ypres had been launched on 31 July. Leonard was not in action that day but on 2 August the "Company moved east of Ypres and took over newly captured ground.......Wet day, ground in sodden condition. Casualties Pte. Thompson killed, Pte Hayes wounded, Pte. Evans missing - the gun destroyed by a shell". It can be assumed that the reference to Evans being missing is that he had taken the full force of the shell and there was, literally, nothing left of him.

The following day appears to have been comparatively quiet although a Private Leadbetter was wounded on what was described as a "very wet day." On the 4th, the officer writing the diary noted that the ground was starting to dry out a little but artillery shelling was more active from both sides.

On the 5th, the Diary record that an SOS was sent up from the British lines. This would be a flare sent up by the infantry in the front line to indicate that they feared an attack was either underway or about to start. When this happened, each machine gun crew had specific instructions to fire at designated places, even if they couldn't actual see any enemy troops. The Diary's final entry reads "Barrage guns fired 20,000 rounds. Excellent work by all ranks. Casualties killed Lance Corporal Owen and Pte. Price."

Leonard is buried in Plot II of the Cemetery. This was created after the Armistice and contains the graves of men originally buried in individual graves or small front line burial grounds. Leonard will have been brought, probably in the very early 1920s, as the land was being returned to civilian use.

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