Rank or Title
Date of Birth
Date of Death
18 Jul 1916
War time / or Pre War occupation
Place of Birth
World War I Address
Place of Death
War Memorial Location
Soldier or Civilian
Pte Leonard Stapleton, 18413, 7th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, was killed in action on the Somme on July 18th, 1916. He was aged 33.
Born in 1883 in Stondon, Beds, he was the son of Sarah Stapleton, who married George Hyde in Stondon, also that year.
Leonard married Maud Jepps, of Shillington, in 1905, and in 1911 he was a market gardener living with his wife in Marsh Road, Leagrave.
At the time of Leonard's death Maud was living at 48 Saxon Road, Luton, where she received the news in a letter from Cpl H. Swannell, 15083, of the 7th Beds. He wrote: "He [Leonard] was one of a party of six, and unfortunately a German shell burst among them, killing them all. I can assure you he suffered no pain; it was all over in a moment."
Immediately before he enlisted in the Beds Regiment on September 5th, 1914, Pte Stapleton was employed by coal merchants Godden and Rudd, of John Street, Luton. After training at various centres he went to France on July 24th, 1915. He was in the trenches about four months when he was put on battalion transport. He had several narrow escapes in the trenches, and was once struck by a German bullet, but without injury.
He had been home on a few days' leave early in 1916. He returned to the Front and was on transport duty for the battalion until his death.
Pte Stapleton had brothers (surnames Hyde) serving in the 5th Beds Home Service Battalion, the 5th Beds in Egypt and the Army Veterinary Corps in France. A further brother was in a convalescent home in England recovering from the effects of German gas. The 1901 Census listed his brothers' names as Arthur, William, James and George Hyde.