Major the Honourable Rupert Leigh died at Stoneleigh Abbey on 14th August 1919, aged 62. He served with the War Office general staff from 1915 until his death, having been a pupil at Sandhurst and a career officer with 15th (King’s) Hussars and the 4th (Royal Irish) Dragoon Guards.
Born on 10th December 1856, he was the third son of William Henry, 2nd Baron Leigh of Stoneleigh and his wife, Lady Caroline Amelia Grosvenor, daughter of the 2nd Marquess of Westmister. Baron Leigh died in 1906.
Although the third son, Rupert was heir presumptive to the barony at the time of his death, as his brother, Francis, 3rd Baron Leigh, the second son, had no children. The eldest brother, Gilbert Henry Chandos Leigh (1851-1884), who was unmarried and childless, had died in a shooting accident in Wyoming, pre-deceasing their father.
Rupert Leigh saw active service before the First World War, serving in the Afghan War 1878, the First Boer War 1881, the Egyptian Campaign 1882, the Bechuanaland Field Force 1884-5, and on the North-west Frontier of India 1897. He was ADC to two Governors of New South Wales in the 1890s, and Military Secretary to the Governor of Bombay in 1901.
He married Beatrice Mary Smith in 1906 and the couple had one child, Rupert William Dudley Leigh (1908-1979). The family lived at Stoneleigh Abbey with Rupert’s brother, Francis.
On the outbreak of war, Rupert asked to sign up but was told he was too old, although he joined the War Office on 21st April 1915 as a censor.
The local connection is that Rupert Leigh was a member of the North Warwickshire Hunt, which met at Meriden.
His name appears in Officers Died in the Great War, and he is commemorated on a memorial plaque in the Leigh Chapel, St Mary’s Church, Stoneleigh. When his brother died in 1938, Rupert’s son became the 4th Baron Leigh.
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