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legardEdwin Rhodes Legard was originally from Hunslet near Leeds in Yorkshire. He was born on 14 September, 1895 the son of Percy and Amy Legard (nee Farrer).

Percy and Amy were married on the 22nd December, 1894 in the Parish Church of St. Mary`s in Hunslet. A second child, a daughter named Florence Irene was also born in Hunslet in 1898.

After Florence was born the family moved to Preston and the 1901 Census shows them living at 32 Clyde Street. Edwin`s father was working as an Engineer`s Pattern Maker. He may have been working at Joseph Foster & Sons a printing press manufacturer on Greenbank Street in Preston which was just a fifteen minute walk away from home.

Sadly, Edwin`s father died in 1904 and two years later his mother Amy remarried to John Smith a widower and publican of the Greenbank Tavern on Victoria Street in Preston, the pub was just around the corner from Joseph Foster & Sons where Percy may have been working. Amy and John Smith were married on the 26th March, 1906 at St. Matthews Church in Preston.

In 1911 Edwin and his sister Florence were living in the pub with their mother Amy and stepfather John. Four of John Smith`s children from his previous marriage were also living with them, John, Henry, Amy and Albert Edward. Edwin was working as a butcher`s assistant at the time.

On the 5 September, 1914 Edwin enlisted at the recruiting office in Preston. He was allocated the number 2112 which would later be changed to 200526 and was posted to the 1/4th Battalion.

Edwin left with the 1/4th Battalion when they embarked for France on the 4 May, 1915. Unfortunately his service papers have not survived so there is very little information available other than from his Medal Index Card and a small article printed in the Preston Guardian.

The newspaper article indicates that Edwin was wounded in both thighs during the Battalion actions in the Battle of Festubert in June 1915 and also mentions that he had been gassed at some point in July (1916).

Despite his previous injuries Edwin was still with the 1/4th Battalion when they were involved in actions during the Battle of Cambrai in November, 1917.

On the 30th November 1917 Edwin was wounded once again, this time in the shoulder and knee and was then taken prisoner.

 Extract from the Battalion War Diary for the 30 November

30th – November 7.40am “Stand to” order received from the 166th Infantry Brigade. Intelligence Officer and scouts sent forward to reconnoitre.

9am – Our infantry and artillery observed retiring on our left in the direction of HEUDECOURT. Artillery reported they had abandoned guns in VILLERS GUISLAIN. Battalion HQ under R.S.M. sent forward to form line on north-east side of VAUCELLETTE FARM, where they immediately came under machine gun fire from the enemy advancing from VILLERS GUISLAIN.

A Company were ordered up on their left, and had to fight hard to reach their position: the enemy had already seized Chapel Crossing. All the Officers of this Company eventually became casualties.

B and D Companies were ordered to continue the line on the right of HQ on the east side of VAUCELLETTE FARM. All Companies were quickly in position: fire was opened and the enemy ceased to advance and took up a position on a line running from the BEET FACTORY to CHAPEL CROSSING. At the time there were no troops in position on our right or left flanks. This state of things prevailed until dusk, when the Canadian Mounted Brigade arrived.

11am Orders were received from the 166th Infantry Brigade to clear enemy from VILLERS GUISLAIN. Battalion ordered to advance in extended order to clear enemy from VILLERS HILL. This they proceeded to do, led by Lieutenant Colonel R. Hindle D.S.O.

The men were firing from the hip as they advanced, and the foremost line of the enemy began to retire. The advance was successful until the centre of the line reached a point about 200 yards from the crest of the hill, when ammunition ran short. At this time fresh enemy troops advanced over the hill in considerable strength.

The Colonel was killed, and all three Company Commanders became casualties. The Adjutant took command of the Battalion and ordered a withdrawal to VAUCELLETTE FARM. This was carried out slowly, under covering fire from the left flank.

Total casualties were: Killed – Lieutenant Colonel R. Hindle D.S.O., Second Lieutenant J.H. Livesey, Captain R.N.L. Buckmaster, 7 other Officers were wounded. Other ranks: 11 were killed, 84 wounded and 15 missing.

Edwin was initially transported to the hospital in the Prisoner of War Camp in Munster, Germany and from here he would have been able to let his family know of his whereabouts.

The following newspaper article was then printed in the Preston Guardian.


Prisoners of war were often moved around from camp to camp as circumstances dictated and the records show that Edwin was transferred to Soltau Prisoner of War Camp at some point. This camp was located centrally between Bremen, Hamburg and Hanover and was one of the largest camps but by all accounts one of the better ones. There is no information as to when he went there but records show he was there in November, 1918.

After the war ended Edwin was repatriated to England and eventually back to his family in Preston. He was finally discharged from the Army on 24 May, 1919 under S.Para 392 XVI  (Sickness. no longer physically fit for war service) and he was awarded the Silver War Badge with the number B218171.

Edwin also received the 1915 Star, British War and Victory Medals.

Edwin stood as a witness when his sister Florence married Ernest Edgar Owens at St. Andrew`s Church, Ashton in August, 1921.

Sadly, at the age of 35 Edwin Rhodes Legard died at 9 Windsor Avenue, Ashton on Ribble, Preston and was buried in Preston Cemetery on the 6th October, 1930. Whether his early death was related to his war service is unknown.

Janet Davis
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2 Responses to 200526 PTE. E. R. LEGARD. L.N.LAN.R

  1. Malcolm Legard Owens says:

    I am grateful to Janet Davis for finding this web site and the references to my uncle Edwin Rhodes Legard and to his sister Florence Irene Legard who married my father.

    If Janet Davis sees this I would be glad to follow uo joint ancestors.

    • Janet Davis says:

      Hello Malcolm,

      I`m pleased you found the website and thank you for taking the time to comment.

      I`m afraid I am not related to Edwin Rhodes Legard. I just play a small part in helping to research and publish the stories of the brave men of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment for this website.

      Kind regards

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