PRIVATE GEORGE RIDLEY LESLIE
31ST JULY 1917 AGE 20
BURIED: POTIJZE CHATEAU LAWN CEMETERY, BELGIUM
George Leslie's mother has composed a wonderfully informal and totally original inscription for her son's headstone. One can just imagine the ephemera of a young man's life that he might leave around his home in the hope and expectation that he would be around to pick it all up again once the war was over.
Before the war, George, who was born in Glasgow, had been a groundsman at the Wellingborough golf-course. I haven't been able to find any of the family in the 1911 census and wonder whether they went to Ireland, where father Hugh had been born. The Irish connection might explain the fact that George served with the Leinster Regiment.
He was killed on the opening day of the Third Ypres campaign. His battalion, the 7th, were in reserve but George was part of a party of about 500 men detailed to dig a trench in the region of Potijze Chateau. Their task was to bury a cable that would connect up the forward communications as the attack progressed. The whole region was under tremendous enemy bombardment and the party came under heavy shrapnel fire on the Potijze road. There was absolutely no shelter for them until they had the trench underway. After a couple of hours the shelling died down but by the time the party returned to base one officer and ten soldiers had been killed. George Leslie was among the ten dead.