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69615: My Father and the Battle of the Somme

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posted on 2023-12-06, 16:56 authored by Oxford At War Project Team

This story was shared at the Somerville Great War Roadshow at Somerville College, 15 Nov 2014. This story is about my father Leslie Gordon Lee. In November 1914 he was living in Cowley in Oxford and studying Classics at Jesus College; he was 22 years old (he took his war B.A. in 1916). He was commissioned in November 1914 as a lieutenant in the 9th Yorks (Service) Battalion, stationed at Folkestone and Maidstone in Kent in February 1915 and landing at Boulogne in August 1915. On 5th July 1916, he fought in the assault and capture of Horseshoe Trench at the Battle of the Somme and on 10th July 1916 his brigade took part in the Battle of Contalmaison, to capture a heavily defended position known as 'Bailiff Wood'. He was shot in the head and evacuated via Rouen to the hospital ship 'St Andrew' and from there to the Queen Alexandra Military Hospital in London. He was awarded the Military Cross in January 1917 and in February 1917 was appointed to the Contracts Department in the Ministry of Munitions. After the war, he became a senior civil servant in the Ministry of Labour but suffered from very poor health (and had to have many examinations and health checks). He died in 1936 of tuberculosis as a result of the chlorine gas he had breathed in during the war.

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Ian Lee

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My Father and the Battle of the Somme

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Shared under a CC-BY-SA 3.0 licence. @Ian Lee

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