Donald Ryan Leatherdale
2nd Lieutenant, Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent) Regiment
Donald Ryan Leatherdale was born in February 1896 and was the son of George F Leatherdale, MA, Insurance Clerk. George applied for his son’s admission to Alleyn’s School in July 1905 and Donald started in the following September. He lived at 12 Ealing Park Gardens in South Ealing and in term time at least resided with an aunt, Miss Leatherdale, who lived closer to Alleyn’s at 227 Croxted Road, Dulwich. Donald’s school reports all refer to his ability and intelligence.
He left Alleyn's in 1908 and continued his schooling at Christ's Hospital School until 1911. He joined the war effort as part of the Artists Rifles. He served overseas on the Western Front in France and Flanders before being granted a commission with the Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent) Regiment. After completing his officer training, Donald joined the regiment as a 2nd Lieutenant on the Western Front, shortly before the launch of the Battle of the Somme in July 1916. After the failure of the first day of the battle on July 1st, the Allies decided to re-launch the offensive in the few places where the attack had been successful. To assist with the planning of this operation, Donald led his men in a night attack on July 22nd to gather information from enemy lines. Unfortunately, he was killed in action during this attack. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.
With thanks to a family member, Becky Bishop, for providing some of this information.