- Surnames starting with the letter R. 

Leonard Royle

Ship/Rgn/Sqn No:06th Bn [1]
Name of Rgt or Ship:Cheshire Rgt
How Died:Killed in Action
Country of burial:FranceGrave Photo:Yes
Cemetery or Memorial:Connaught Cemetery, Thiepval
Town Memorial:Sale
Extra Information:
Born on the 17th September 1892, the birth being registered during the
December quarter 1892 in the Altrincham R.D. - ref: 8a/183, the eldest son
of Joseph & Ann Royle (nee Morris).

1901 Census - Sewage Works, Dane Road, Sale.   Son - aged: 8 - born: Sale. 
  Head of household - Joseph Royle - aged: 28 - Foreman at Sewage Works -
born: Sale.   Also - Ann Royle - aged: 27 - born: Ashton on Mersey.    Plus
3 younger siblings.

1911 Census - 75 Chapel Road, Sale.   Son - aged: 18 - occ: Bootmaker -
born: Sale.    Head of household - Joseph Royle - aged: 38 - Foreman at the
UDC Sewage Works - born: Sale.    Also - Ann Royle - aged: 37 - born:
Ashton on Mersey.   Plus 3 younger siblings.

Married Mary Houghton during the September quarter 1913 in the Bucklow R.D.
- ref: 8a/574.

Employed in the Boot Repair Dept, Bradford (Beswick ?) Co-operative
Society, Manchester.   Enlisted into the Cheshire Rgt in April 1916 and was
drafted to the front in September 1916.   

Took over left sector at Thiepval 10/10; Attacked Schwaben Redoubt 14/10 -
enemy counter attacks repulsed; Relieved and to Pioneer Road 16/10;
Martinsart Wood 25/10; To reserve trenches at Thiepval 29/10; Pioneer Road
30/10; Right River Section, Thiepval 01/11; Pioneer Road 11/11; Moved
forward to assembly positions in readiness for attack on St. Pierre-Divion
(a hamlet between Beaumont-Hamel & Theipval); Attacked St. Pierre-Divion
13/11 - all objectives taken (275 Casualties); 1/6th Cheshires, 4/5th Black
Watch & 16th Sherwood Foresters assisted by tanks took St. Pierre-Divion on
the 13th Nov.

SDGW lists his number as 291645 and states that he was in the 6th Bn -
Cheshire Rgt.    The CWGC state that his number was 4611 and that he was in
the 7th Bn Cheshire Rgt.   His MIC also states that his number was 4611.

The above battle details are from the 6th Bn's involvement in the Battle of
the Somme - the 7th Bn did not, apparently, take any part in that action.  
According to SDGW 117 - 6th Bn men died on the Somme 1916, but no 7th Bn
deaths are recorded.

Sergeant James Boardman of the 6th Battalion, Cheshire Rgt made the
following entry in his diary for the 13th November:-  "Big attack made
along the Thiepval Sector.  Our Battalion took part.  The attack started
about 6.00 am.  The wounded started coming in about 8.00 am and from this
time onwards it was one continual stream all day and night.  All objectives
were taken and our Battalion was the first to enter St. Pierre Divion.
Hundreds of prisoners were taken.  We made them carry away our wounded."

John Hartley, owner of the Stockport 1914-18 website has kindly given me
permission to use his material detailing this Battle:-

"The Battle of the Somme had started on 1 July 1916 and, by the November,
it was entering its final stages. The British attack that was launched on
13 November became known as the Battle of the Ancre (after the river which
runs through the middle of the battlefield). The Cheshires' objective was
the hamlet of St Pierre Divion to the north east of their position.

Conditions on the battlefield were horrendous. No Man's Land had been
churned up by months of continuous shellfire. It had been raining heavily
and the whole area had turned to deep glutinous mud. Walking could only be
managed at only 15 yards a minute and men had to sit down to pull their
legs out of the mud. A fall into a water filled shell hole meant almost
certain death from drowning. It was almost impossible for a man to be
pulled free. Stockport's Territorials would have to attack across several
hundred yards of this ground before engaging the enemy.

At 10pm on 12th November, the Battalion assembled in shell holes and
blown-in trenches at the recently captured Schwaben Redoubt. The slope of
the ground meant they were in full view of the enemy positions but,
luckily, were concealed overnight by a thick fog. At 5.45am, the Battalion
left their positions and advanced, in four waves. The fog caused them to
miss their first objective, Mill Trench, but they re-organised and captured
it. By noon, they had also taken St Pierre Divion.

The History of the Battalion records that "A mist screened the movement of
our troops, but also enabled many enemy parties, who had been overlooked,
to fire into the backs of troops who had passed. Many of the Germans, who
had surrendered to the first wave of troops, took up arms again and we
sustained many casualties in this manner."

When the Cheshires reached the village, there were no buildings still
standing - all having been destroyed by artillery fire. The Battalion
History recounts "One signaller had been told that when he arrived at St
Pierre Divion, he must look out for Brigade Signals for further supplies of
wire. He sent a message back "Brigade Signals ain't here, wire ain't here
and St Pierre Divion ain't here.""

During the day, the Battalion captured 150 prisoners and took two machine
guns, but at a heavy cost. 126 men had been wounded. 38 had been killed.

He was originally buried in the St. Pierre Divion Cemetery, but his body,
along with five other men from his Battalion, was later exhumed and buried
in the Connaught Cemetery.

He left a widow and three children.

Death reported in the 08/12/1916 and 14/09/1917 editions of the Altrincham

Listed in the Guardian Year Book - Roll of Honour for 1918.

Photograph of him on file.

Leonard's father - Joseph Royle, became the Superintendent of the Sale &
Ashton on Mersey Joint Fire Brigade.   He was in charge of the Brigade
during the Christmas 1940 Manchester Blitz when the town suffered five
major fires, including the Sale Town Hall, plus three medium fires.  
Joseph sent a four page report on the incidents to the Sale Borough
Council.   See my book "The Sale Blitz 1940-1941".

Memorials found on:
Sale PresbyterianSale Wesleyan
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