First World War Project

Leonard Charles JARVIS (of Doddington)

b. Q3, 1898
d. 18th August 1917. Aged 19

Private, Service Number 41022
Royal Dublin Fusiliers
(Formerly, 296228, Army Service Corps)

Dozinghem Military Cemetery, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium
Plot 4, Row I, Grave 6
Died of Wounds

Dozinghem Military Cemetery, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium

Son of Henry Allan and Lucy Rosa Jarvis, who ran the Post Office in Doddington like Henry's father before him. Leonard was baptised at Doddington on 28th August 1898 and was the youngest of ten children to Henry and Lucy. Leonard had six sisters, Margaret R, Lucy Gertrude, Hilda C, Bertha S, Dorothy, Kathleen J and four brothers, Allen William (Enlisted but declared unfit), Henry F, George F.

His parent's generation were also principally raised in Doddington.

His effects went to his Sole Legatee, Lucy Rose (his mother) and amounted to £4 10s. 1d. plus the War Gratuity of £3. [See Appendix 2]

Medal Records shows that Leonard Charles Jarvis was posthumously awarded the British War and Victory Medals. [See Appendix 1]

Experience of War

War Gratuity of £3 suggests an enlistment date within the previous 12 months before his death. We have no information to explain why or when he was firstly in the Army Service Corps (Reg. No. 296228) and then went on to transfer into the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. The military records for this man are very sparse.

With his background in grocery/provisioning, the A.S.C. may have been a natural fit on enlistment into the Army. It may well be that his original enlistment in Kent (to the A.S.C.) around August 1916, was followed by a few months training that coincidentally brought him to a position of fighting readiness at the beginning of 1917. In 1917, the 1st Battalion, Royal Dublin Fusiliers had returned from India via Gallipoli to take part in the costly Battle of Albert and the Battle of Transloy Ridges. It may be his move was a response to an urgent need of fresh drafts.

In the absence of war records, we don't know whether Leonard took part in these actions. So, we turn to the War Diary for the 1st Battalion, Royal Dublin Fusiliers from January 1917.

The year opened west of Amiens in Saisseval then marching to Quesnoy, Corbie, Meaulte, Carnoy, Guillemont. From here the Battalion moved in and out of Trenches and the Firing Line, East of Albert. In January and February the action was relatively quiet until 28th February/1st March when they took part in a limited attack under cover of a creeping artillery barrage supported by a number of Stokes Mortar teams. Ultimately, the troops made it into Palz-Trench but casualties arose from "our own barrage", hostile machine guns, mortars and snipers. The attack became chaotic and the German resistance stouter than anticipated. Four officers were killed alongside 24 Other Ranks; Three officers were wounded alongside 80 other ranks; Missing Other Ranks accounted for another 19 men.

From 4th March, the Royal Dublin Fusiliers retired to Ville Sur Corbie. To recovery and train. There was also a steady flow of injured and sick out of the Battalion. In batches, a number of drafts of new men arriving throughout March. If Leonard was not already part of this Battalion, he may just possibly have arrived during March to make up numbers as the Battalion gradually recovered and to take part in the training at Ville and then Mericourt and Belloy St. Leonard.

In April, the Battalion was on the move again through Beaurepaire to Beaudricourt. From a low point of 554 O.R.s (16th March) the O.R.s reached 670 at the end of March and 822 men by 5th April. During April, the Battalion moved on to Arras on 12th April in support - the Battle of Arras had begun on 9th April. Their role was to provide working parties and to dig communication trenches on Orange Hill taking occasional casualties through heavy artillery barrages.

The costliness of the Battle of Arras is shown in the relief of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers on 18th April by a composite battalion of Essex-Newfoundlands their strengths having been heavily depleted. Leonard's battalion moved into the Firing Line at Monchy themselves to relieve the Lancashire Fusiliers. Leonard's battalion was subjected to heavy shelling. Even at this stage, large drafts continued to arrive while casualties continued to rise. On 24th, orders were received to join in with a general attack but had to retire to their original position at the close with 1 officer and 19 O.R.s killed after stubborn German resistance (5 officers injured alongside 55 O.R.s).

Once relieved, the Battalion retired to Wanquetin, then billets at Souastre. On 2nd May, the Battalion had returned to Arras to provide working parties and receive training. The Battalion moved into the Brown Line on 21st May then the Firing Line at Monchy. Retaliatory barrages took their toll. In June, the Battalion entrained for Candas and marched to Pernois for more training as the Battle of Arras came to an inconclusive close.

It wasn't until 5th July that the Battalion returned close to the Front, in support, billeted comfortably "in a wood" [Belgium 28 N.W., A.10.d]. In time, these billets became officially known as "Dublin Camp". From this position, the Battalion supplied working parties to the forward positions. On 10th May, they provided a Raiding Party of 1 officer and 30 Other Ranks.

On 13th and 14th July, lively artillery exchanges took place in front of "Canal Bank". On 15th, "Heavy bombardment of Enemy line by our Heavy Guns. For 3 hours, some of them fire very short. In the evening they are again short, one of our own 6" shells killing Captain H.L. RIDLEY M.C. (in command of V Company) at 9 p.m. - 4 O.R.s killed by enemy shell fire, 4 O.R. wounded, 1 O.R. died of wounds." On 16th, the Battalion vacated their trenches to allow British continuous artillery to bombard Enemy lines. The next day, the Battalion was relieved back to "Canal Bank" in support while the enemy continued with their barrage. Eventually, on 19th July, the Battalion was relieved back to Camp on the Crombeke - Poperinghe Road [about 2 miles short of the former].

We learn more through his Obituary.

Faversham and North East Kent News of 1st September 1917
PTE L.C. JARVIS, DUBLIN FUSILIERS. Mr and Mrs H. A. Jarvis, of the Post Office, Doddington, have received the intelligence that their fourth son, Private Leonard Charles Jarvis, Royal Dublin Fusiliers, has died of wounds in France. He was only 19 years of age, joined up in February last,and had been three months at the front. When he enlisted he passed into the Mechanical Transport, he having had experience in a mechanics at Mr. Rye garage at Greenstreet. On reaching France, however, he was transferred to the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. He was shot around the abdomen on August 18th and died of his wounds at No. 47 Casualty Clearing Station the same day. He was buried in the military cemetery at Dosinghem. Deceased was educated at Doddington Council School and the Wreight School, Faversham. Two other sons of Mr and Mrs Jarvis are serving with the Canadian Forces in France.

Circumstances of the death of Leonard Charles Jarvis

On 24th July, following a period of rest and recovery at the Camp on the Crombeke-Poperinghe Road.

[The] Battalion moves to Camp Proven Area 3 - tents and shelters and 2 farmhouses. Very nice camp. 1 O.R. to Base under age. 2/Lt A.G. Sidwell and 50 O.R. go as Working Party to 23rd H.A. Group.
25th: Camp Proven Area 3: Battalion less details [to be left behind in view of coming operations] march off at 4.30 a.m. to Training Ground at HERZEELE for Brigade Field day. It commences to rain very heavily at 8a.m. but clears shortly after 1 p.m. Battalion returns to camp at 5 p.m. C.S.M. WALLIS commissioned remaining with Battalion and posted to X Company, 1 O.R. Hospital.
26th: Company training. To Hospital 2 O.R. To Trench Mortar Battery 1 O.R., 5 O.R. draft Corps Depot.
27th: Battalion less details march off at 5.15 a.m. to training ground HERZEELE for Brigade Field day. Return to camp about 5 p.m. Very warm day. 1 O.R. evacuated, 1 O.R. rejoined. 2/Lt C.G. O'CARROLL joined posted to Y Company. 2/Lt B. BLAYLOCK joined at 29th Own Depot Battalion.
28th: Company training. 2 O.R. rejoined, 1 O.R. evacuated.
29th: Church service for all denominations. Very wet from 10 a.m. until shortly after 2 p.m. Boxing competition for the men held at 5.30 p.m. Very good fighting.
30th: Company training and inspections in the morning. Battalion less ½ 10% Details (who remain to move 31st inst. to 29th Depot Battalion XIV Corps Reinforcement Camp BOLLEZEELE; remaining ½ 10% Details plus Administrative Staff move with Battalion, but will remain with Transport Lines when Battalion go up into Action). Move at 11.25 p.m. to Camp Proven 2 area, Sheet 19 BELGIUM, X.20.d.5.3. this is night of Y/Z - ZERO hour 3.250 a.m. morning of 31st July. The 29th Division are "Corps Reserve" and are to follow through the GUARDS Division who open the attack on our Sector, on their RIGHT are the 1st FRENCH Division and on the LEFT the 38th WELCH Division with 20th Division "Corps Reserve" behind them, both latter being of the XIV Corps. The Battalion are held in readiness to move at 3 hours notice. The men are in very good spirits.
31st July: Proven Area No.2: Very dull and hazy day. Bad for observation. Rain commences in the evening and continues through night. Bad weather appears to dog all our offensives! 2/Lts J.E.B. MAUNSELL and T.W.H. MASON evacuated to England. Draft 3 O.R. joined Division Depot Battalion. 2 O.R. rejoined from Hospital, 1 O.R. evacuated, 1 O.R. to Base depot.

August 1917

1st: Proven Area No.2 [Belgium Sheet 19, X.20.d.5.3] Very wet day. To Base under age 1 O.R. also 1 O.R. of DURHAM L. Infantry who was attached. 3 O.R. evacuated, 1 O.R. joined 29th Depot Battalion.
2nd: Still raining, continuous now since evening of 31st July. Orders received Battalion no longer under 3 hours notice to move. Companies parade under their own arrangements. 1 O.R. evacuated. 6 O.R. to Employment Company. [Fighting Strength: 40 officers; 844 O.R.]
3rd: Again very wet. Battalion moves to FORREST ENCAMPMENTS [28 N.W. Belgium A.10.b]. Close to DUBLIN Camp. C.O. and 2nd I.C. in TENTS, other officers and men in bivouacs, very uncomfortable as the place is so very muddy - 2/Lt A.F. TELFER granted commission in INDIAN Regiment of officers proceeded to UK on Embarkation leave - struck off strength.
4th: FORREST AREA CAMP 13: Fine day but overcast. Men engaged in clearing up camps. 2 O.R. evacuated. 90 O.R. joined at Divisional Depot Battalion. [Fighting Strength: 39/844]
5th: In the morning Church services for all denominations. Battalion less Details and Administrative staff, move to Camp [BELGIUM Sheet 28 N.W. B.7.c about 1200 yards south of WOESTEN. 1 O.R. evacuated, 5 O.R. permanently attached 183 Train Company R.E. [Fighting Strength: 39/928]
6th: CAMP, 1200 yards South of WOESTEN: Transport, Details, etc move to Camp close to DE WIPPE CABARET & Roads. Battalion moves at 8.30 p.m. up into support - route WHITE HOPE CORNER - BOESENGHE PONTOON and relieve 4th GRENADIER GUARDS in left sector. Battalion H.Q. SAULES FARM. Disposition, Z Company in front support, W Company at SAULES FARM, X Company 1 Platoon ABRI FARM, ½ Platoon MAJOR'S FARM; 1½ Platoon BLUE LINE, Y Company BLUE LINE.
2/Lts J.B. JOHNSTON & W.F. SPEISS join at DEPOT Battery. Chaplain's batman struck off strength. [Fighting Strength: 41/927]
7th: SAULES FARM: Shelling of some intensity during day. Z Company have most casualties. Battalion relieves 4th G.G. in Left Sector front line, relief complete by 1.30 a.m. 86th Brigade instructions change scheme of defence & fresh positions have to be dug. W & X Companies in front line on left and right respectively, each having a platoon in close support to these companies. Z Company in Reserve. Battalion H.Q. at CAPTAIN's FARM. Battalion suffer many casualties during relief as a dense fog descends and enemy put a barrage on approaches to front lines. Draft joined 4 O.R. [Fighting Strength: 41/930]
8th: CAPTAIN's FARM: Enemy artillery very active. Our aeroplanes fly very low over enemy trenches and fire at them, only 1 hostile Machine Gun heard to engage them. Lt. A.C. LENDRUM from 1st Royal INNISKILLING FUSILIERS joins and remains with Details. [Fighting Strength: 42/930]
9th: CAPTAIN's FARM: In the early hours "W" Company push out a Patrol over the STEENBEEK to reconnoitre ground N.E. of bridge at W.20.b.7.6. [LANGEMARCK Sheet Edition 2 1/10,000] same company establish a post S.E. of some bridge across the river. This post establishes itself there for the day. X Company fail to establish a post at PASSERELLE FARM which is found strongly held by Machine Gun and snipers. Enemy artillery still exceedingly active. Continual shelling of front line system and various Headquarters at SENTIER FARMFOURCHE FARM, CAPTAINS FARM. Brigade orders that Battalion establish 3 posts on East bank of STEENBEEK. W Company maintain their first post and push out & consolidate a second post on East bank about 100 yards to the South East of first post. X Company again fail to establish their post at PASSERELLE FARM. In accordance with orders from Brigade both established posts of W Company are withdrawn at 1.30 a.m. The Battalion is relieved by 16th MIDDLESEX Regiment in front line. Relief completed by 1.30 a.m. and Battalion returns to camp at B.7.c. Casualties 1 O.R. killed, 1 O.R. died of wounds, wounded 38 O.R. wounded and remaining with unit 1 O.R. [Fighting Strength 42/890]"
10th August: B.7.C: Battalion move at 2 p.m. to camp at DE WIPPE Cross Roads accommodation huts. Very comfortable. 1 O.R. returned, Major F.A. WILSON to 11th Battalion CHESHIRE Regiment as 2nd in Command. 7 O.R. evacuated.
11th August: DE WIPPE. Reorganisation of Companies. Draft 5 O.R. joined Depot Battalion from Hospital. 1 O.R. evacuated. [Fighting strength (41)/888].
12th August: Church services for all denominations - Concert for the men in the evening. 1 O.R. to Base unfit. [41/889]
13th August: Company Training and Inspections. 5 O.R. evacuated. 5 O.R. attached to 86th Machine Gun Company missing. [41/879].
14th August: Organization etc of Companies. Battalion moves at 8.45 p.m. to camp B.7.C [ETON CAMP] all in can settled down by 9.30 p.m. 2 O.R. Evacuated. [41/877]
15th August: ETON CAMP: Battalion leaves camp at 8.30pm moves up - crosses CANAL at CRAPOULLOT PONTOON and takes up position in WOOD 15. Attack by 29th Division (87th and 88th Brigades). ZERO 4.45 a.m. 16th inst. 86th Brigade and 1st INNISKILLING Fusiliers in Reserve. [41/877]
16th August: CANNES FARM: at 11 a.m. whilst attack is in progress, Battalion relieves 1st Royal Inks Fusiliers in line near SAULES Farm. At night Battalion moves up to front line relieves 4th Worcester Regiment who were consolidating 3rd Objective - Battalion in B. Sector R.INNISK Fus. on left, 2nd Ry.Fusiliers on Right - Battalion H.Q. at CANNES FARM. Rejoined from hospital, 2 O.R. [41/879]
17th: A fairly quiet day, though the 4 Companies in front line have casualties. "C" Company fire on enemy patrol of 3 who surrender. They belong to 119th Infantry Regiment, 26th Division. 2nd Lieutenant HAWTREY on patrol meets an enemy patrol of 3, fires on them, 2 escape, 1 surrenders, another of the enemy leaves his lines and surrenders to "X" Company. [41/879]
18th: CANNES FARM: Shelling becomes heavy. Enemy guns registering very accurately on front line and H.Q., two direct hits by 5.9 Howitzers on latter. 2nd Lt. HAWTREY wounded 17th inst. [40/879] {Comment: His obituary confirms this as the date he received his abdominal injury.}
19th: Morning quiet. Afternoon shelling fairly heavy, a bit in the evening. Draft 9 O.R. joined Depot Battalion.[40/888]

Leonard Charles Jarvis died of wounds 15 kilometres behind lines at No.47, Casualty Clearing Station, Vleteren, north-west of Poperinghe, Belgium, one of three Clearing Stations wryly nicknamed by troops as "Mendinghem, Dozinghem and Bandagehem" (Mending them - Dosing them - Bandage them).

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