Thank you to the Friends of St. Margaret for allowing us to reproduce their research. Thank you to Lenka Cathersides for additional information.
Philip John Leppard was born in the 4th quarter of 1895 in West Hoathly, Sussex to farm labourer John and Sophia (nee Filtness).
Philip’s father John was born in the 4th quarter of 1859 in East Grinstead, Sussex to agricultural labourer Charles, born about 1829 in Horsted Keynes, Sussex and Elizabeth (nee Budgen), born about 1831 in Withyham, Sussex. John was baptised on 30th October 1859 in East Grinstead. At the time of the 1881 Census, John was a servant of farmer Abraham Foster at Hurley Farm, Turners Hill Road, East Grinstead. His mother Sophia was born in the 4th quarter of 1864 in Rotherfield, Sussex to agricultural labourer Edward, born about 1839 and Sophia, born about 1834, both in Rotherfield, Sussex. Sophia was baptised on 9th May 1869 at Rotherfield. At the time of the 1881 Census, Sophia and her son Edmund lived with her family at Chevalers End Cottage, East Grinstead. At this time she was working as a domestic servant. John married Sophia in the 4th quarter of 1885 in East Grinstead.
Philip had one half-brother: Edmund Filtness (Leppard) born about 1881 in East Grinstead.
Philip had six full-siblings: Kate Harriett born in the 2nd quarter of 1886; Minnie born in the 2nd quarter of 1888, both in East Grinstead. Charles Edward born in the 1st quarter of 1891; Lily Sophia born in the 2nd quarter of 1899 and Bert Henry born in the 1st quarter of 1904, all in West Hoathly, Sussex and Sidney Jarvis born in the 1st quarter of 1906 in Linfield, Sussex.
At the time of the 1891 Census, farm labourer John and his wife Sophia lived at Moatlands Cottage, West Hoathly. The household further comprised of their children: Edmund, Kate, Minnie and Charles and John snr’s brother, farm labourer, Jesse.
At the time of the 1901 Census, the family lived at Slab Castle Cottages, Lindfield. John was working as a farm labourer and Sophie was at home looking after their children: farm labourer Edmund, Minnie, Charles, Philip and Lily.
At the time of the 1911 Census, the family lived at Turnhill, Linfield. John was working as a farm labourer and Sophia was at home. The household further comprised of their children: farm labourer Philip, Lily, Bert and Sidney. Sophia stated that she had given birth to 8 children of whom all were still alive. The accommodation had four rooms.
Philip enlisted soon after the outbreak of war in Horsham, into the 22nd Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers, then stationed in Horsham. At this time, he and his family lived at Cricketers’ Arms, Ockley, Surrey. He was a Private with regimental number K/1294. He enlisted with three other Ockley friends, including Thomas Banfield and William Randall. (Only one of them would survive the war.) After training in Sussex, Mansfield and Salisbury Plain, the battalion left for France in November 1915. They were in action at Vimy Ridge in May 1916 and in the front line trenches at Montauban during the Battle of the Somme. On 27th July 1916, the battalion took part in the attack on Delville Wood, a strongly defended German position. Fierce fighting took place in terrible conditions. The wood had become a morass of mud, shell holes and tree stumps where men were constantly exposed to shellfire and mortar attack. Casualty losses were heavy. When the battalion was withdrawn just one week later, over 250 officers and men were listed as killed, wounded or missing.
Philip was killed in action on 28th July 1916 in France. His Captain wrote: ‘Pte Leppard died fighting and suffering no pain. He was a man whom everybody liked for his willing and quietly cheerful spirits, and his death is very much felt in the company, both among the officers and men.’
Philip’s father John received £4, 14s and 9d on 5th December 1916 and a further £6 and 10s on 3rd December 1919 in Soldier’s Effects.
Pte Leppard is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France. His memorial reference number is: Pier and Face 8C 9A a 16A. He is also commemorated on the St Margaret’s WW1 panel in Ockley, Surrey.
He received the British War and Victory medals and the 1915 Star.
|Born||West Hoathly, Sussex|
|Son of||John and Sophia Leppard|
|Regiment||22nd Battalion. City of London Regiment. Royal Fusiliers|
|Date of Death||28th July 1916|
|Place of Death||Deville Wood, Somme, France|
|Cause of Death||Killed in Action|
|Memorial||Thiepval Memorial, France. Pier and Face 8C, 9A and 16A|