Leslie Davenport COBURN
Rank: Private
Number: 30010
Unit: 1st Battalion King’s Shropshire Light Infantry
Date of Death: 8 October 1918
Age: 19
Cemetery: Ramicourt British Cemetery, Aisne, France

John D Coburn had married Catherine Rowlands in 1890. They would have five sons together - Donald, Fred, Leslie, Percy and Thomas. Leslie was baptised at St George's Church on 20 October 1899. He was a member of the church's Sunday school and, also, sang in the choir between 1910 and 1915. At the time of the Great War, the family were living at 17 Beech Road, Stockport and had lived, previously, at 127 Bramhall Lane.

After finishing his education at Stockport Grammar School, Leslie was articled to Crofts & Naylor, a firm of accountants. In 1917, in his spare time, he was a Lance Corporal in the local Drill Company. Leslie will have been conscripted into the army when he became 18 and was assigned to 50th Training Reserve Battalion (service number). On completion of training, he was assigned to the Gloucestershire Regiment and went overseas. It is not known when Leslie was transferred to the Shropshires, but it was probably around February 1918, when a number of Battalions of the Gloucesters were disbanded.

By early October 1918, German resistance to the constant Allied attacks (which had started at the beginning of August) was starting to crumble. At the very beginning of the month, the Shropshires were resting at Tertry but, on the 4th, the Battalion moved forward again. By the night of the 5th, it went into the front line at a position marked on British maps as Precelles Farm, approximately 15 kilometres north of the French town of St Quentin.

A major advance against the German lines, along a 20 mile front, was planned for 8 October. At 5am, the Shropshires attacked, forming the first wave in their sector. In front of them, was the defended village of Mericourt. Their specific objective was a sunken road east of "Mannikin Hill" and they had secured this before 6am. The Regimental History says it was achieved "with great dash". According to plan, other units now leap-frogged the Shropshires to make the final successful assault on the village. The whole attack was a success, although the Shropshires had suffered over 110 casualties - dead, wounded or missing.

Leslie is also remembered on the War Memorial at St George's Church.

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