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Leslie Woodhouse Cubitt Ireland

Rank: 2nd Lieutenant

Reference: 1897-1917

Cubitt Ireland

Kingston Grammar School's Roll of Honour on which the name of "L W C Ireland" appears

2nd Lieutenant Leslie Woodhouse Cubitt Ireland of the 12th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment died on 12 February 1917. He is buried at the Guards Cemetery, Combles. He is not listed on the Hampton Wick War Memorial but his Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) entry refers to him as a “native of Hampton Wick” as he had been born in the village on 21 March 1897. His name appears only to have been hyphenated after his death, being used in this form in his CWGC entry and also in his obituary in De Ruvigny (a record of officers killed in the Great War).

At the time of his birth the Cubitt Ireland family lived at Clevelands, (now 12 Station Road) (subsequently demolished and re-built as a care home for the elderly). His father, Henry Cubitt Ireland, was a solicitor. He was baptised on 20 April 1897 at St Mary’s, Teddington. By the time of the 1901 Census the household comprised his father, Henry (40), his mother, Lucy Eveline Ireland (nee Simpson), Leslie and his sister, Beryl (6).

Sometime after 1901, the family left Hampton Wick so that when Leslie Woodhouse Cubitt Ireland joined Kingston Grammar School (KGS) on 15 September 1904 he did so as a boarder having previously been privately tutored. He remained a boarder at KGS until he left the school on 31 July 1911. He is commemorated on the School’s Memorial. In 1911 his parents’ address is given as 109 Biddulph Mansions, Elgin Avenue, Maida Vale.

His academic progress at the school appears to have been rather shaky especially given his obituary in De Ruvigny which describes him as being a “scholar” at KGS. He dropped from first position on admission to fifth by the time of his departure and the only remark upon his record card held by the school is a dismissive comment – “rather weak”! However, he appears to have made a greater mark on the sporting field, winning the Under 13 Long Jump in 1907 with a jump of 12 feet 11 inches and a commendable second place in the following year when he was beaten by R C Sherriff, author of Journey’s End and resident of Hampton Wick. He also took part, according to a report in the November 1910 edition of the school magazine, in a rather amusing race described thus: “In this “rag “ race each donkey blindfold[ed], carried a rider who by making use of his biped’s ears had to steer a course among various obstacles to the winning post. Amid much laughter Strong steered Ireland to victory.”

After KGS, Ireland moved to King’s School, Rochester, where he studied until December 1913. His obituary in De Ruvigny again describes him as having been a “scholar” of the school, although the school has not been able to find any specific mention of Ireland holding a scholarship. He did, however, join as a founding member, the newly formed Officers Training Corps (OTC) in November 1911, qualifying as a 1st Class Shot in 1913. As at KGS, Ireland was more notable at King’s for his sporting than his academic success. He was a member of the Football 2nd XI and played in matches against Maidstone School on 2 October 1912 and against HMS Worcester on 6 November 1912. He did pass his Lower Certificate Examination before leaving King’s in December 1913. The Lent Term edition of the school magazine, The Roffensian, in 1914 lists him as an Old Boy and gives his address as 109 Bidduph Mansions, Elgin Avenue, London.

Having left King’s he started training as an actuary with Phoenix Assurance Company. As soon as he reached the age of eighteen he joined the 2nd Public Schools Battalion of the 19th Royal Fusiliers on 21 April 1915. Details of his service career are given both in De Ruvigny and his obituary in The Roffensian. He trained at Epsom, Mansfield, Salisbury and Oxford before being sent to France with the British Expeditionary Force on 10 January 1916. After serving in France for five months he was sent to a Cadet Training School emerging first as a Sergeant and subsequently being commissioned in October 1916 into the Manchester Regiment pending transfer, According to his CWGC entry, he had passed the examination for a permanent commission into the Indian Army. On 15 December 1916 he joined his regiment at the Front. Two months later he was killed in action. His Colonel is quoted in Ireland’s obituary in the Lent issue of 1917 of The Roffensian:

“We feel his loss not only as an excellent officer, but as a friend. He was killed in action during a bad and anxious time and bore himself all through it as a courageous gentleman.”

Ireland is commemorated on King’s Great War Memorial in the Lady Chapel of Rochester Cathedral and also on the memorial board for the Great War in the entrance to the School Hall. His name is read out together with those of the 67 other Old Boys of the School who died in the Great War at King’s Annual Service of Remembrance held at Rochester Cathedral on or near Armistice Day.

By the time of his death his parents were living at 182 Belsize Road, Hampstead. This is probably why Ireland was not included on the Hampton Wick Memorial.

The first phase of this Project is to gather information about the men commemorated on the Hampton Wick War Memorial who fought in the Great War, also known as World War I, WWI or the First World War.

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