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Private Richard Lott    and    Private Leonard Lott
Died: 1st September 1916, aged 22      25th November 1916, aged 24


Albert Leonard and Richard Lott were born in Minton (a hamlet to the south-west of Little Stretton) to William (a farm labourer) and Louisa Minton Lott. Leonard was born in 1892 and Richard on 9th July 1894. They had an elder sister, Beatrice and an elder brother, William. Richard was baptised the  day after his birth by the curate of Church Stretton and the following day his mother was buried – the ceremony performed by Rev Charles Noel-Hill, Rector. One assumes that she had died in childbirth.

This must have been a desperate time for the family. Farm labourers were already amongst the very poorest but without a wife and mother to take care of the home and children, William had to turn to family to help out, there being little or no social welfare available. Louisa’s mother, Mary Ann and her husband Robert Ward, had settled in Minton and it was to them that William seems to have turned when Louisa died, leaving him with 4 children under the age of 5.

Some years later, in March 1901, Beatrice, aged 10, was living with her grandparents, Mary Ann and Robert. Living in the same house as boarders were Francis and Susannah Minton – Mary Ann’s aunt and uncle.  William senior and his three sons, William, Leonard and Richard, were living nearby in Minton with a house servant, Eliza Carter, aged 27. William and Leonard were in school in Church Stretton.

By October 1901, however, they had left the district and, as we know from William and Leonard’s school records, they were living in Broadstone, a hamlet in Corvedale between Diddlebury and Shipton. They left that school and the district at the end of March 1902. The next school William and Leonard attended was Brockton (between Shipton and Much Wenlock), but for how long they were there is not known.  On 11th January 1904, Leonard and Richard were admitted to school in Diddlebury, where William senior had been born and probably, therefore, had relatives. William Jnr was now a labourer in Corfton, near Diddlebury. Clearly, theirs was a precarious, peripatetic life, William Snr probably finding work through the Hiring Fairs or by word of mouth.



The effect on the boys’ education can be seen in the above admission record, where the teacher has placed an exclamation mark (somewhat cruelly?) at the side of the highest standard they’d achieved at their previous school. They are both recorded as “Standard I”, which indicated that they could read a text “next in order after monosyllables” and could copy a line of print and write a few common words from dictation. Both boys left school when they were 13. 

In 1911 William senior, along with his eldest son William, were farm labourers and were living with their daughter/sister Beatrice, who was by then married to Samuel Baldwin, a shepherd on a farm.  At this time Leonard was a cowman, on the farm in Minton of his grandmother, Mary Ann and her husband, Robert Ward. Richard was a wagoner on a farm in Diddlebury.

No further records of Richard have been located until five years later, when he was killed in action, aged 22, on the Somme battlefields in France. He was buried in Flatiron Copse Cemetery. We can estimate from the register of effects disbursed upon his death that he had joined up, voluntarily, around June, 1915. He had initially been in the Monmouthshire Regiment (service number 4372) but had then joined the 1/6th Battalion of the Welch Regiment (service number 15031), which became the Pioneer Battalion to 1st Division in May 1916. From July to September that year they were in Albert, Contalmaison, and High Wood. 

School record.jpg

The map above shows the locations where Richard was engaged, as well as the extent of the Allies’ advance over four and a half months.

Flatiron Cemetery is less than two miles south-west of High Wood. It is located in a valley which was used as the main supply route during the attempts to advance the line at High Wood. The valley was protected from direct observation from the German lines by the topography of the land, and thousands of men and large numbers of supplies passed up this valley. It was originally known to the troops as Happy Valley, and was taken during the advance of 14th of July, 1916 (the same day as the first unsuccessful attack at High Wood). Although the Germans couldn’t directly observe the road and the valley, this was the only route that could be used, and they pounded it with shells. After a while it became known, therefore, as Death Valley.

Richard Lott Grave at

Richard has no surviving military records other than his medal record (British War Medal and Victory Medal) and the record of disbursement of his personal accounts: £2 2s 10p on 3rd November 1916 and later, in 1919, the war gratuity of £3, both to his father.  Unlike many soldiers who were killed, his body was found and was identifiable. He is buried near where he was killed. His grave is shown here.

Leonard enlisted in Church Stretton and was initially drafted into the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry. He was later transferred to The Royal Warwickshire Regiment 11th Battalion. This battalion had been formed in 1914 as part of Kitchener’s New army and, as Leonard was 22 at that time, he may well have been one of the many young men swept along on a wave of nationalism to the recruiting office shortly after war was declared. The battalion landed in France on 30 July 1915 and was then deployed to The Western front.

Leonard survived until 25 November 1916 when his battalion was engaged in the final stages of The Battle of the Somme – see the map above. Both sides had reached a stage of exhaustion in the dreadful physical conditions created by warfare and weather. The mud was waist deep in many places where troops were struggling to carry out the totally unrealistic orders with the unachievable targets set by generals based in chateaux many miles behind the front lines.

Leonard is commemorated on the Thiépval Memorial and he was posthumously awarded the same medals as his brother. His father received a War Gratuity of £4-7-2 on 28.3.17 and a further £3-0-0 on 25 November 1919.

The brothers died just three months and a short distance apart which must have been devastating blows for their family who had already suffered in so many ways. William, the eldest brother, went on to name his son Richard Leonard which is an indication of the loss he felt.  

Sources and Acknowledgements



Information on the location of Flatiron Cemetery and the area’s significance during 1916, courtesy of  Alan Jennings:

Photograph of gravestone courtesy of Yvonne Roberts

Little Stretton, Church Stretton, All Stretton

Stretton WW1 Soldiers on War Memorials

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