Malvern College First World War Casualty

Lieutenant Leslie Arthur Lea-Smith

Photo of Leslie Arthur Lea-Smith
House and time at Malvern: No 3, 1911 - 1914.

Regiment: East Kent Regt. (The Buffs).
Died: 07 July 1916 aged 19 in France. Killed in action at the Somme.
Battle: Battle of the Somme. Cemetery: Aveluy Communal Extension F 68

Son of Harold and Adele Lea-Smith, of Heathfield Houses, Windmill Rd., Wimbledon Common and Gothic Lodge, Wimbledon Common, S.W. b. 1897.
Upper V—Matriculation Class. Minor Scholar. XXII Football.
Magdalen College, Oxford.
Great War, Private Middlesex Regt. 1914; Lieutenant 6th Bn. The Buffs (East Kent Regiment).

'Full of vigorous life, Leslie Lea-Smith showed great promise in his school days. He was a delightful companion, particularly attractive for his sturdy independence. He answered his country's call for the first 100,000 men by enlisting in the Public Schools Battalion (16th Middlesex), where he obtained two stripes. In February, 1915, on his 18th birthday, he received his commission in the "Buffs" (East Kent Regiment). He was wounded in the Hohenzollern crater fighting in March, 1916, and many will recall his graceful figure and imperturbability from the following account which appeared in the "Daily Chronicle": "When all the men in one of these infernal craters were dead or wounded, Lieutenant Lea-Smith ran forward with a Lewis gun, and served it during a fierce attack by German bombers until it jammed. Then he left the gun and took to bombing, and that single figure of his flinging grenades like an overarm bowler kept the enemy at bay until reinforcements reached him." For this act of heroism he was mentioned in despatches. He was killed in action on July 7th, and his Colonel writes: "He was quite the most gallant boy I have known, and his fearlessness almost amounted to recklessness, so great was his utter disregard of danger. His loss to the Battalion is irreparable, and he will be truly mourned by both officers and his men who were devoted to him, as their comfort was always his first thought."' (Malvernian, Jul 1916).
Biography at Merton