Dedicated to the memory of all the men and women of the South Staffordshire area who died during the two World Wars.
Ernest Edward Leadbeater was born at Albrighton, Shifnal, in 1887. He was the son of Richard Leadbeater, a labourer at the water works, and his wife Harriett. The family lived in the High Street. In 1901, aged 13, Ernest worked as a carter but in 1911 he is recorded as a labourer in a coal wharf. On enlistment he gave his trade as gasman.
Ernest married Emily Edith Cartwright at Worfield in 1909 and the couple lived on County Lane, Codsall Wood. They had two children, James and Catharine.
Ernest enlisted at Wolverhampton on 1st December 1915. He did his training with the 18th Notts and Derby Regiment but was transferred to the London Regiment just before leaving for France in June 1916. He was killed at Les Boeufs on 7th October, 1916 when the 1/12 Londons assaulted Dewdrop trench as part of the Battle of Le Transloy phase of the Battles of the Somme, 1916. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission lists 97 men of the 1/12 Londons who died on that day of whom only four have known graves. The Rangers (the 1/12) attacked in four waves but came under heavy machine-gun fire and shelling. Each wave was halted after about 50 yards. An account in the Battalion War Diary says:
The 7th October 1916 was a disastrous day for the Rangers and for many others. . . The weather was appalling, the ground was greasy and slippery with recent rain and there was more than one subsequent abortive attack after we were relieved before the position was finally won.
Ernest was originally posted missing, but on 6th November, 1917 he was finally declared 'Killed in Action' on 7th October 1916. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.
Rifleman Ernest Leadbeater, 473989 (formerly 7772, 32782, 5612) was awarded the Victory and British Medals.
This memorial has mostly been compiled from official sources. It would be good to be able to expand it with more personal material - memories, stories, photos, etc. If you have any suitable material or any corrections please contact Greg.