Rank: Private
Number: 15020
Unit: 72nd Company MACHINE GUN CORPS (SHERWOOD on mem)
Date of Death: 30 August 1916
Age: 22
Cemetery: Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France

Leonard was born in Radford, Nottinghamshire in about 1894. The census of 1901 shows the Sibbring family living at 13 Redoubt Street in Nottingham. George Sibbring, then 41, was an iron moulder and was married to Elizabeth. They had seven children – Arthur (then 16), Lillian (15), John (10), Mary (8), Leonard (7), Joy (5) and Winifred (3).

It is probable that it was George’s work that brought the family to live in Bredbury, but it is not known when. Certainly, in due course, Leonard would also find work as a moulder and was employed at the local works of Briddon & Fowler. The company were flour mill engineers.

The family lived at 52 George Lane and worshipped at St Mark’s Church. Leonard was a keen sportsman and played football for the church team and, also, for Woodley Football Club. He enlisted into the army in 1915, choosing to join the Sherwood Foresters (the Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiment) and his inscription on the Bredbury Memorial shows him serving with the Regiment. He was given the service number 26304 and he saw active service abroad with them. It is not known when he was transferred to the Machine Gun Corps.

Wednesday, 30 August 1916 was an overcast and very wet day. The Battle of the Somme had started on 1 July and would still have some weeks still to continue, but this day was a relatively rare quiet one across the battlefield. After a period in reserve, Leonard’s Company again took up positions in the front line, with half the Company (8 guns) being near the village of Montauban and the other half a little further advanced at Delville Wood.  Even though it was a quiet time, there would still be danger from enemy shelling and, if they were moving in the dark, it was not uncommon for men to fall into water filled shell holes and drown in the mud. The Company’s War Diary makes no mention of casualties on this day, but Leonard was posted as being “missing”.

His family would have to wait until August 1917 before the War Office made an official presumption that, as there was no news of him, he must have been killed. It will have been a tragic time for his parents and sisters. They will have had months of uncertainty and then, in June 1917, news will have come that Arthur Sibbring had been killed on the 19 June whilst serving with the Foresters. Leonard’s body was never found and identified.  

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