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Henry Leaver was born in the fourth quarter of 1888 to Henry and Emily Jane (nee Mangnall) of Chorley, Lancashire. He had three older brothers named William (b. 1878), Ernest (b. c1880) and James (b. 1884); and two younger sisters named Annie (b. 1890) and Ida (b. 1896). In 1891 the family were living at 68 Seymore Street and by 1901 they had moved to number 42.  By 1911 only Henry and his two sisters were living at home, they had moved to 56 Railway Road. Henry was working as a house painter.

On 3rd September 1914, Henry now aged 26 years and 2 months old enlisted in the Army at Chorley. He was single, had no military experience and listed his father as his legal next of kin.

At his enlistment medical the officer described Henry as being 5ft 3in tall and weighing 119lbs. He had blue eyes, brown hair and had a mole on the dome of his head. 

Private Henry Leaver was posted into the newly raised 10th (Service) Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment and given the number 12949.

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Band and Staff of the Chorley Gardens Skating Rink

As a civilian Henry played with band of the Chorley Gardens Skating Rink.  At Eastborne in January 1915 he was playing piccolo with the 10th Battalion Band.

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Private Henry Leaver marked with an X

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10th Battalion Band at Eastborne on 30th January 1915. Henry is seated third from right on the front row. Other personalities identified are Colonel William Dennys (front centre) and Captain Desmond Coke

Henry Leaver sailed to France with the main body of the 10th (Service) Battalion on 31st July 1915. In early 1916 he was diagnosed with Suppurative Otitis Media which involves a perforation in the tympanic membrane of the ear.

Memories of his family
When I knew him he was almost totally deaf and I believe this was the result of injuries sustained when he was actually playing in the band when they were shelled!

On 10th April 1916 he was returned to England and treated at the Lady Forester Hospital in Broseley.

Private Henry Leaver was discharged on 21st July 1916 and given Silver War Badge number 88313. He had served a total of one year and 322 of the three years he had originally enlisted for.

He would later receive the 1914/15 Star, British War Medal and Victory in recognition of his War Service.

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A photo of Henry Leaver at his easel in about 1968

Paul McCormick
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Paul McCormick

Paul McCormick is the creator and administrator for the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment website. Since 2010 he has been researching the soldiers that served during the First World War and sharing their stories on his website. You can contact Paul through the website 'Contact Me' page or on Twitter and Facebook.
Paul McCormick
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2 Responses to 12949 PTE. H. LEAVER. L.N.LAN.R

  1. d booth says:

    Henry eventually settled in Babylon Lane,Adlington where he carried on his trade as a painter and decorator and pursued his hobbies of fishing and painting but unfortunately due to his loss of hearing his musical career was at an end. At the age of 80 Henry emigrated to Australia where he died in 1984 at the age of 96

  2. jOYCE sCHOLES says:

    Henry was married to Agnes Barker on the 7th.July 1917 at St.Philip’s Protestant Mission Church Adlington Lancashire. They had 3 children Irene,Henry and Frank.

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