27th July 1917

Private Leonard Gillett was killed in action on 27th July 1917, serving as a Private with the 1st Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment, having been transferred from the Royal Warwickshire Regiment.

He was born in Luddington, Warwickshire in 1884 and was the fourth of the six children (four daughters, two sons) born to parents William (a labourer) and Mary Ann (née Taylor) who had married in Stow on the Wold, Gloucestershire in 1877. The youngest child, Emily, died aged four in 1895.

By 1901, the parents were living in Stratford with their two sons, 16-year-old Leonard who was working as a grocer’s porter, and 14-year-old Frank, who was a butcher’s errand boy. Their three sisters were all working away from the family home. Harriet Alice Gillett (born 1882) was a servant in Kings Norton. Hilda (also recorded in some records as Ida) Silence Gillett (1880-1942) and Lavinia Maud Gillett (1878-1972) – were living in different houses in Richmond Road, Olton where they were working as servants.

By 1911, parents William and Mary were still in Stratford, but all of their children had left home. They continued to live in Stratford until their deaths in 1919 (William) and 1930 (Mary). In 1911, Leonard, aged 26, was working as a baker and was boarding in Sparkbrook. In 1913, he married Florence May Andrews (1882-1975) in Alcester, and their daughter, Olive Mary Gillett was born in Solihull on 16th October 1914. She died in Alcester, aged 98, in 2013.

We don’t know when Leonard joined the army, but his medal index card suggests that he didn’t see overseas service before 1916. He was killed in action on 27th July 1917 and is buried at Perth Cemetery (China Wall), Belgium, 3km east of Ieper (Ypres).

He is also commemorated locally on Solihull War Memorial. He is also recorded under “those serving: Fell” on war memorial to Solihull Lodge (no. 506) of the Grand Independent Order of Loyal Caledonian Corks (GIOLCC).

If you have any further information, please let us know.

Heritage & Local Studies Librarian

tel.: 0121 704 6977
email: heritage@solihull.gov.uk

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