Second Lieutenant, London Regiment
Born: December 10th 1895
Died: June 1915

Age at Death: 19

Killed in action, France, May 8th 1915.
Son of E.J. Walford of Hove.

A donation to the memorial statue has been made in honour of this soldier by the Tiplady Family.

Leonard Nithsdale Walford
Leonard Walford was born on December 10 1896 in Middlesex,  the only son of Edward and Laura Walford. They lived initially in 12 Langford Place Marylebone where the Walfords ran a hotel although the 1901 census also shows them living at 11 Oriental Place, Brighton, indicating that there was a clear early connection with Brighton. In 1911, however they were back in London again, now living in, and possibly managing, the Hotel Great Central in Marylebone London.

The family background of Leonard’s father’s family was, unusually for a Brighton College pupil of this period, clearly Jewish. Leonard’s grandfather was known as Samuel Moses and his occupation is listed in the 1871 census as a stockbroker in Marylebone. At some point the family must have changed their name and probably converted to Christianity as well, a common event in the Jewish community as it aided assimilation and prevented the inevitable Anti-Semitism.

In 1909 Leonard Walford was enrolled in Brighton College as a pupil in Hampden House. He was, in fact, only a member of the school for two years and it is unclear where he moved to when he left in 1911 aged only 15. However during his time at the school evidently made an impression as one master described him as “stubborn but has great potential”. He was, in common with many of his fellow pupils, enrolled in the Officer Training Corps. Walford crops up again as an undergraduate Law student at London University in 1913 and was also enrolled in the Middle Temple at the same, indicating that had the Great War not supervened he was destined for a career at the Bar. In The Bond of Sacrifice,  [a record of Lawyers killed in the Great War] he is recorded as “giving every promise of a brilliant future”? at this point but he clearly also took his patriotic duties seriously because he enrolled in the Inns of Court Officer Training Corps.

Following from this active participation in military training it is unsurprising that Walford volunteered for overseas service on the outbreak of war in 1914. He was commissioned into the 12th battalion London Regiment in August 1914 and received rapid promotion to the rank of Lieutenant in September 1914. It was in this unit that he was to be killed on May 8th 1915 during the last days of the Second Battle of Ypres.

The twelfth battalion, London Regiment was called forward to reinforce the line and Walford selflessly went one hundred yards in front of the main body for the purposes of reconnaissance at the crest of a ridge. On the crest of the ridge he came under heavy artillery fire and ‘on one high explosive shell bursting within six feet of him he was never seen again’.

A contributor to the ‘Bonds of Sacrifice’ wrote ‘I had a very high opinion of him, he was a good boy and full of intelligence…his calling was as a lawyer, he has died a brutal death and I am proud of him’. In the absence of a known body he is remembered on Panel 54 of the famous Menin Gate at Ypres.

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

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