Leonard PRITCHARD
Rank: 2nd Lieutenant
Number:
Unit: 218 Squadron ROYAL AIR FORCE
Date of Death: 29 September 1918
Age: 18 (based on 1901 Census)
Cemetery: Arras Flying Services Memorial, Pas de Calais, France

Leonard’s full name is Joshua Leonard Pritchard. The 1901 Census records him as being the only child of Joshua & Rachel Pritchard of 101 Gatley Road, Gatley. His father was in business as a wholesaler and was sufficiently successful for the family to be employing a live-in servant. By 1918, Joshua & Rachel had moved down the road to live at No. 161. At the same time, William, Wilfred and Jessie Pritchard were living at 147 Gatley Road, but it is not known if they were related.

On 29 September, the British launched a major offensive on the German defences of the Hindenberg Line. 218 Squadron, flying Airco DH9 bombers, would be involved in bombing enemy strongpoints. Leonard was the pilot of aircraft number D3272 and, that day, his observer was 2nd Lieutenant Albert Smith. They took off from their base at Frethun, near Calais. As the Squadron flew towards its target, it was attacked by a large force of German fighter aircraft. Leonard’s plane was last seen, over Lichtervelde (some 35 kilometres south of Ostend). It was in a steep dive with five enemy aircraft on their tail. Two of the German pilots, Lt Kohlpoth of Jasta 56 and Lt Willi Rosenstein of Jasta 40 were both credited with victories over DH9s, but it is not known which one shot down Leonard and Albert. Their bodies were never recovered and identified.

(Original research by John Hartley for the Cheadle & Gatley War Memorials website)

   
           
   
     
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