Leonard Gordon Daniels was born in Rugby and baptised on 14th January 1898, together with his twin Joseph Henry. Their parents were Leonard Daniels and Annie Amelia (nee Bench) who had married on 28 March 1897 at St Marks Church, Coventry, although both came from Rugby. Annie gave her age as eighteen, but she had probably just turned sixteen. At the time of the twins’ baptism, their parents were living in Earl St, Rugby and Leonard was a bricklayer.
By 1901 they had moved to 57 Oxford Street and a third child, Robert Cecil, the survivor of another pair of twins born in mid 1900 in Birmingham. the other twin William Sidney died soon after birth. In 1911, when Leonard Gordon was 13, they lived at 9 New Street and his father was still working as a bricklayer.
After leaving Murray School, Leonard became a printing apprentice with Mr G E Over.
When the war started, Leonard Gordon Daniels enlisted immediately, on 19th August 1914. He was only 16, but gave his age as 21yr 1mth. He joined the Army Service Corps (driver T/2/14707). On 12 January 1915 he was discharged as unfit for further service; not because of his age, but on medical grounds – a hernia. His description on discharge was sallow complexion, grey eyes, brown hair. He was 5ft 11in tall.
After an operation he signed up again, this time with the 4th Bn, Grenadier Guards (no.23313) on 11th March 1915. This time he gave his age as 20 yr 1mth (he was actually 17)
For some reason (problems with his age?) the army was unable to find the documentation of his service with the A.S.C. His record contains a large collection of correspondence between different departments on the subject until, in January 1916, the Rugby recruiting office explained that “owing to the rush of recruits on outbreak of war, unable to state how documents were disposed of on enlistment”
It is not known if this delayed his deployment, but he arrived in France in February 1917. The Grenadier Guards had joined the 4th Guards Brigade of the 31st Division and at some point Leonard was promoted to Lance Corporal.
Leonard Gordon Daniels was wounded on 31st July 1917, the first day of the Battle of Pilckem.
He died on the 4th August 1917 and was buried at Dozinghem Military Cemetery.
Westvleteren was outside the front held by Commonwealth forces in Belgium during the First World War, but in July 1917, in readiness for the forthcoming offensive, groups of casualty clearing stations were placed at three positions called by the troops Mendinghem, Dozinghem and Bandaghem.
The 4th, 47th and 61st Casualty Clearing Stations were posted at Dozinghem and the military cemetery was used by them until early in 1918.
There are 3,174 Commonwealth burials of the First World War in the cemetery and 65 German war graves from this period.
In a letter to his parents, reported in The Rugby Advertiser of 11th August, an officer of the Battalion wrote that
“Corpl Daniels was gallantly leading his Lewis Gun Section into action… I was by his side when he was hit, and I can assure you that everything possible was immediately done for him. I do not think he suffered any pain. I have been his platoon commander ever since he came to France. It was chiefly by my recommendation that he won his stripes, and he has always done his work to my entire satisfaction. He was a great favourite with all the platoon, and he leaves a gap which will, indeed, be hard to fill.”
RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM