Leach William C. Pte 14499459

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Personnel Entry

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Name Leach William C.
Army number 14499459
Rank Private
Decorations None known beyond Service Awards
Date of birth Born Reigate, Surrey.
Age (At time of death).
Unit Conscripted into the General Sraff Corps 10/3/1943. Underwent Basic Training at The Lines, Maidstone, Kent. Transferred to the Queen's Royal Regiment 17/6/1943. Posted to the ? Battalion. Underwent further Infantry Training at Maidstone, together with Anti-Tank Gun training at Shoeburyness on 6 -pounders. Carrier driving training. Transferred to the East Surrey Regiment 19/10/1943. Posted to the 10th Battalion at Portadown and Ballykinlar, then to Horndean and Hambledon. Given Embarkation Leave and then sailed from Newhaven as a Replacement. Served Normandy. Transfer to Warwickshire Regiment cancelled due to a spell of sick leave. Transferred to The Durham Light Infantry 20/7/1944 and posted to the 10th Battalion as a replacement. Transferred to the East Yorkshire Regiment on 3/9/1944 on the disbandment of the 10th DLI. Transferred to the Lincolnshire Regiment from 10/12/1944. Transferred to the Gloucestershire Regiment from 7/8/1946 to 3/11/1947, including a return to the UK. Demobilised.
Platoon or other sub-unit While with 10th DLI served in "S" Company and then "D" Company. In East Yorks served in "D" Company.
Task or role Details awaited.
Joined Brigade 20/7/1944.
Promotions None known.
Wounded Not so far as is known.
Prisoner of War Not so far as is known.
Died/Killed in action Date of death not yet known.
Home address No family information yet.
Source table

In going through Pte Leach's papers, which provided the service information included above, his grandson also found notes in his handwriting which appeared to be a poem, penned, it is assumed, by his grandfather at the end of the War - the text is set out below:-

We did not know each other then, As we landed on that foreign shore, When we quickly changed from boys to men, In those dark bloody days of 1944.

We thought we knew all about soldiering, But we found we had so much to learn, As we went into action with barrels smouldering, And the Germans sent so much back in return.

The Riflemen through No Man's Land advancing, With comrades dropping dead by their sides, The Gunners in gun pits, sweating and toiling, Firing rounds to save the Infantrymens' hides.

We won many battles in Normandy, Seeing many tragic and terrible sights, We overcame the formidable German Army, And moved onwards to face many more fights.

We raced across France into Belgium, Fighting over ground where our fathers had fought, The freed people gave us a wonderful welcome, But the canals and river brought us up short.

We overcame the obstacles, we were now battle-hardenend and tough, We smashed our way up the long corridor, To the lads in the Airborne, who were having it rough, We got bogged down on the Island, so near to Arnhem's door.

That winter was the worst that folk had known for years, But the fighting carried on across the land, The conditions were so bad tough men were reduced to tears, Some lads were sent to the Bulge, to give the Yanks a hand.

In the Spring it ended, the final shell was fired, We found some wine and went berserk, And then went to sleep, by golly we were tired, Eventually we went back to Blighty, to try and find some work.