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Blakenhall Man's death at Boulogne, Express & Star, 8 Dec 1914

Blakenhall Man’s death at Boulogne, Express & Star, 8 Dec 1914

This article appeared in the Express and Star on 8 December 1914, but verifying the facts of the article has proved rather more difficult.

The article reports on the death of Leonard Rhodes, who died in a hospital in Boulogne following serious shrapnel wounds to the head. A former resident of Franchise Street in Blakenhall, he had been working at Sunbeam Motor Works when the First World War broke out. He was apparently 35 years of age, originally from Dudley, and serving with the Worcestershire Regiment.

According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and his medal card, however, Rhodes clearly served with the 1st Battalion of the Warwickshire Regiment, service number 8. Finding his birth has been difficult, too. There are no 35-year-olds from Dudley with that name – they all appear to have been born elsewhere in the country, including Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire. Even if we widen the search in terms of the year of his birth, there are no children born in Dudley called Leonard Rhodes. We can therefore assume that, either, he was born elsewhere, or Leonard was his middle name. There are a number of boys born in Dudley of about the right age where the middle name is not given – Wilfred, Samuel, Enoch, and Arthur – so it may be that he was one of these. As there is no widow mentioned in the article, we can presume that he had not got married.

Rhodes is buried at Boulogne Eastern Cemetery: Plot III, Row B, Grave 49. He is also commemorated on the Roll of Honour displayed inside St.Luke’s Church in Blakenhall.

This blog post has appeared thanks to a posting by Warwickshire Soldiers on the Western Front 1914-1918.