Name & Rank:
Lance Corporal Leonard Stovell
Birth date & Location
Born in Croydon, Surrey on 25 February, 1887. Lived in Carshalton, Surrey, at time of enlistment.
Sammuel and Elizabeth Jane Stovell, who lived at 79 Gordon Road in Carshalton, Surrey, UK, before and after the First World War.
Leonard was one of seven siblings. The prodigious Stovell family included Amy, Samuel, Susie, Charles, Nellie, and Walter. His father was a Canvasser, and managed set up all of his sons as assistants to different professions by the start of the Great War; Leonard was employed as a stationary shop assistant.
Leonard attended the Wallington Holy Trinity Boys’ School, the precursor to the modern Wallington County Grammar School. He graduated in Easter of 1905 and was awarded a diploma from the Surrey Education Committee, and subsequently earned another from the Diocese of Southwark, certifying he passed a “creditable examination” in “Religious Studies” on March 9th, 1908.
Leonard left his job at the stationary shop and joined the 8th Queen’s on October 24, 1914. He was assigned to 13 Platoon of B Company, under Captain Fox. Leonard’s education and employment in a lower middle class profession qualified him for promotion, and this was likely the reason he was appointed as Lance Corporal. Lance Corporal was a rank above private, and although it entailed extra duty and supervision, came with no pay raise. The position was generally looked upon by the other ranks as a bad bargain, but there was a concomitant belief that those who were appointed “Lance-Jack” were the most responsible and promising individuals among the enlisted men.
Death date & Location
Leonard was killed on 26 September, 1915 during the second day of the battle of Loos. It was the first battle that the 8th Queen’s fought in during the war, and Leonard was among the 409 other ranks who were killed, wounded, or captured. Leonard’s body, like most of his comrades, was never recovered, and he is commemorated among the unknown on panel 13 of the Loos Memorial in the Dud Alley Corner Cemetery, Loos-en-Gohelle, France. To learn more about the experience of Leonard, Jack, and the men of the 8th Queen’s at the battle of Loos, view this digital interactive battle map.
After the war, Leonard’s parents claimed, and were awarded, a pension; a recognition of the Stovell family’s unimaginable sacrifice.
Benjamin Roy, one of the student researchers for the Peirs Project, visited Loos in 2019. While exploring the battlefield, Ben visited Dud Alley Corner Cemetery, taking pictures, and specifically visiting panel 13, where Leonard Stovell, along with the other casualties from the 8th Queen’s, are commemorated. Ben wrote about his experiences touring French First World War battlefields, and his connection to Leonard Stovell in a blogpost published here. Some of the photographs Ben took during that trip are featured below.
Leonard Stovell’s papers and personal effects, pictured above, are in the possession of Gettysburg College’s Special Collections and College Archives at Musselman Library. They were acquired by the Library for use by the Jack Peirs project. The collection remains unprocessed by the archive, but Leonard’s photographs, papers, and objects will soon be available to view, either in person at the archive or online through GettDigital, Gettysburg College’s digital archive.
Photographs taken at Dud Alley Corner Cemetery, Loos-en-Gohelle, France by author, Benjamin Roy. September 26, 2019.
Papers and Ephemera of Lance Corporal Leonard Stovell. Gettysburg College’s Special Collections and College Archive at Musselman Library. Unprocessed Collection.
Leonard Stovell Entry in “Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919.” Military-Genealogy.com, comp. UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008. Link.
Leonard Stovell Page, From Brindle Family Tree. [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008. Link.
Leonard Stovell Entry in WWI Pension Record Cards and Ledgers; Reference: 175/0893/STO-STO Western Front Association; London, England; Digitally Published as: Ancestry.com. UK, World War I Pension Ledgers and Index Cards, 1914-1923 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2018. Link
Stovell, Leonard, Page 150. Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment Rough Register of Recruits 1914-1917. Published Digitally by the Surrey History Centre. Link.