Leonard Francis Gandar-Dower (Ju./Ha. 1903-09)


Second Lieutenant, Honourable Artillery Company
Born: June 20th, 1890
Died: May 3rd 1917

Age at Death: 26

Killed in action, France, May 3rd 1917
Son of J.W. Gandar-Dower of Regents Park, London. Messrs. Franks & Gandar, Tea Merchants.

Brother to Eric Leslie Gandar-Dower (Ju./Ha. 1903-1913), Alan Vincent Gandar-Dower (1908-1911), and Ronald Willie Gandar-Dower (Ju./Ha. 1903-1910).

A donation to the memorial statue has been made in honour of this soldier by David Barnes (Ha. 1965-70), father of Frederick Barnes (Ab. 2006-2011).

Obituary Brightonian XVI April, 1918
Reported missing, believed killed, May 3rd, 1917
L.F. Gander-Dower entered Hampden House in 1903, and changed to Chichester in 1908. He left behind him a record which is very seldom achieved, and rarely forgotten. As sportsman, Prefect, and solider his achievements were equal. Appointed Prefect, 1907, he was Senior Prefect in 1909. His sports record is as follows; 2nd XI. Football 1906-96; 1st XI Football, 1906-09, Captain, 1908; 1st XI. Cricket, 1908;1st VIII. Fives, 1908-09. Colour-Sergeant in O.T.C. Form Va Modern. Before the war he was a partner in Edward A. Franks and Gandar, of Mincing Lane, and immediately he was released from his responsibilities he enlisted in the H.A.C. He was chosen by his commanding officer for a commission in his regiment, entered a cadet school, was gazetted in 1916, and wen to the front soon after Christmas.  His company commander writes: - "He went over the top with us a few days ago, and was doing magnificently. It was his first time under fire, but he might have been an old solider by the splendid way he carried on. I fear he is killed, as the last that was seen of him was when a bomb burst at his feet."

2nd Lieutenant Leonard Francis Gandar-Dower
Leonard Gander-Dower was born in Regent’s Park, London on June 20th 1890. He was one of six sons of Joseph Gandar-Dower, a tea merchant and ‘colonial broker’, and his wife Amelia (nee Germain).

At the school Gander-Dower was appointed a Prefect in 1907 and a Senior Prefect in 1909. He also represented the school in the 1st XI for both Cricket and the 1st VIII for Fives, and was a Colour Seargent in the OTC. On leaving school he was a partner in Edward A. Franks and Gandar, it is not clear exactly what the nature of the partnership’s business was but given the highly successful nature of his father’s business, probate records show him to have died an extremely wealthy man, it seems likely to have been on the same lines.

On the outbreak of war he enlisted with the HAC and was in 1916 chosen by his commanding officer for officer-training. He received a commission in the 2nd Battalion, HAC and arrived on the Western Front in January 1917. On the 3rd May 1917 he was reported missing in action following an attack on German lines in the closing stages of the Arras offensive. It is clear from the following report by his company commander that it was his first experience of combat:

He [Gandar-Dower] went over the top with us a few days ago, and was doing magnificently. It was his first time under fire, but he might have been an old solider by the splendid way he carried on. I fear he is killed, as the last that was seen of him was when a bomb burst at his feet.’

Although the Germans did subsequently report his death from wounds through Red Cross channels he has no known grave. He is commemorated on the Arras Memorial.

Source: LEST WE FORGET PROJECT, Brighton College 2014/15

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