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Great War Anomally

This article appeared in yesterday's Times online:

'On St Andrew’s Day, 1915 Logie Leggatt sent a letter home from a trench in France recalling a former battle. “This time three years ago, I was the keenest man alive,” he wrote. “One of my team is killed now, but all the rest of us are in some front or other. We may not be great shakes at soldiering, but we were the finest Wall XI that has been seen for 40 years . . . What am I fighting for? Not for England with its follies and conceits, simply for about 100 friends and a few acres of elms and turf by a river, for red-brick buildings and a grey chapel, and above all for the most tremendous tradition I shall ever know.”

That night he dined with three former team-mates where they drank a toast “with greater gratitude than we can express” to Beata Maria de Etona and recalled their triumph beside a 200-year-old wall three years earlier, when Leggatt’s Collegers trounced the Oppidans by nine shies to nil. It could have been more, but Leggatt had a rare goal, worth a further nine points, annulled when an opponent claimed to have touched the ball in flight. No goals have since been scored in the big St Andrew’s Day match of the Eton wall game.

“The umpire reversed his decision on the word of a player,” Leggatt wrote stoically, “on the grounds that a gentleman could not, and would not, lie.” The umpire’s decision is always final. As was the German sniper’s bullet that killed 2nd Lt Leggatt on July 31, 1917, at Pilckem Ridge, 200 muddy miles from home. He died wearing his 12ft purple-and-white College Wall scarf.'

I am having an informative exchange with another poster on this article who challenged me when I said that if he had been a Subaltern in 1915, I was surprised that, given the attrition rate of young officers in the Great War, he was still a Subaltern 2 years later. He countered by posting the CWGC website entry for said officer which definitely states that he was 2nd Lt when he was killed. Could the oracles of ARRSE do some checking for me? I realise that The 'Thunderer' in recent years has been in a downward spiral towards the red tops and I wondered if the bit about 1915 was accurate.

I stress that I have no connection with the officer or his family and am merely curious as to the accuracy of the article.
 
Allow me a few minutes to try and track this chap down.

First impression? His CWGC entry may refer to his substantive rank - the best example of such an anomaly I've seen was a 2nd Lt/Acting Lt Col.

I shall return . . .
 
Allow me a few minutes to try and track this chap down.

First impression? His CWGC entry may refer to his substantive rank - the best example of such an anomaly I've seen was a 2nd Lt/Acting Lt Col.

I shall return . . .
Used to get that a lot when I was with the Gunners - substansive L/Bdr, Acting Bdr, Local Sergeant!
 
Curious! Attrition rate and substantive rank were not linked: infantry battalion adjutants should have been a captain or senior lieutenant but by 1917 were often second-lieutenants; and one company commander should have been a major and the other three captains but by 1917 at least two would often have been second-lieutenants. In these cases acting rank was rarely used. It was used in staff appointments but 2/Lt Leggatt is down as being in 2/Coldstream.

One point is that Guards officers held dual ranks and as lieutenants in their regiment would also be captains in the Army. At 22yrs he should have progressed but maybe there were personal reasons?
 
'On St Andrew’s Day, 1915 Logie Leggatt sent a letter home from a trench in France recalling a former battle. ... The umpire’s decision is always final. As was the German sniper’s bullet that killed 2nd Lt Leggatt on July 31, 1917, at Pilckem Ridge, 200 muddy miles from home. He died wearing his 12ft purple-and-white College Wall scarf.'
It could be that in 1915 he wasn't an officer. Unlikely for an Etonian, but possible ;)
 
Used to get that a lot when I was with the Gunners - substansive L/Bdr, Acting Bdr, Local Sergeant!
More recently, I know of a HERRICK tour where someone was two and a bit years out of the Factory; Lt, Acting Captain, step up to OC on Bde deliberate ops when the boss got casevac'ed...
 
Initial research would suggest that his stated rank at time of death was correct and with no anomalies.

Given that he was born 24 Sep 1894 and was initially commissioned into the (13th Bn) Rifle Brigade in 1914 at 19, he would have served as a Temp 2nd Lt for at least a year: further, he didn't enter F and F until July 1915 and was KiA a year and 2 days later as a confirmed 2nd Lt.

I've found quite a bit and am currently putting together a package for those with an interest.
 
It could be that in 1915 he wasn't an officer. Unlikely for an Etonian, but possible ;)
The article gives the impression that the whole team joined up together, although, as you say, as Etonians, they would almost certainly have joined as officers, unless they were officer cadets, but I would have thought that they would have been commissioned before going to the front. My correspondent in The Times tells me that he was at Cambridge in 1914, so would have joined from University, as many patriotically did, interrupting their studies to serve their country.
 
Logie Colin Leggatt was born in India on 24 Sep 1894 and baptised at Bangalore on 22 Oct 0f the same year. His sporting feats before his untimely death accord him his own Wiki entry:


though I'm not sure how he would have viewed that. The Wiki entry makes mention of his much-decorated Aunt though fails to make mention of his younger brother, Capt WRC Leggatt DSO RN (more of him later).

His father, William Charles Foster Leggatt, was serving in a senior position with the Indian Civil Service, the whole family atypical of the stalwarts of the British Raj. Indeed, William himself had been born into the Raj in 1860

By the time of the 1911 Census, the family had returned to England and, with an address in Lancaster Gate, would seem to be well provided for:

1911 Census.jpg


Given the upper middle class nature of his family, his life pre-war could appear to be a caricature of Blackadder's Lt George, though without the leapfrogging down to the Recruiting Office.

Like many of his circle and background, Logie was one of the initial rush to serve their country in time of war. He was initially commissioned into the Rifle Brigade, though later we find him serving with 2 Coldstream Guards wef 22 Nov 1916.

The page of the Bn War Diary which notes his death has survived:

CG War Diary-31 Jul 1917.jpg


Given that the British and French attacks didn't begin until approx 0350, you can see from this one page that the attrition rate for officers was horrendous. Note that there is no mention of the 'heroic' single sniper shot and instant death and I strongly suspect that such flummery was purely a salve for his grieving parents.

The aftermath and 'admin':

Logie was finally interred here:



His entry into the poignant Register of Soldiers' Effects:

Register of Soldiers' Effects.jpg


and the final granting of Probate to his father:

Probate.jpg


For this service, his father would later receive the 1914-15 Star, British War and Victory Medals.

There was a minor admin error in that CG initially awarded him his 1914-15 Star on their Roll-however, this later corrected to that medal appearing on the Rifle Brigade Roll, this being the Regiment with which he was serving when he entered France and Flanders:

15 Str Roll - CG.jpg



15 Star Roll - Rifle Brigade.jpg






and, finally, he is remembered in Wisden thus:

LEGGATT, 2ND LIEUT. LOGIE COLIN (Coldstream Guards), killed July 31, aged 22. Eton XI, 1912 and 1913: he scored 74 against Winchester in 1913: kept Sixpenny. In the Cambridge Freshmen's match, 1914, he made 116 and 12; and in a Trial match, 160 not out (carrying his bat through the innings) and 67. Despite these long scores he failed to get his Blue. At Eton he was a good bat in two very strong Elevens, averaging 33 in 1912 and 26 in 1913. He played an innings of 76 for Old Etonians v. Old Harrovians, at Lord's, 1914.

As I said, his younger brother is also of interest - I'll put something together for him also.
 
That's excellent! Thanks very much FourZeroCharlie - the practice of telling NoK that their loved ones 'died from a single shot to the head' was prevalent in both World Wars rather than tell them that they bled to death in a stinking shell hole, which was more to the truth.
 
It appears that the clerks had a bit of a moment with him - he's also in the WO files as Logu Collin Leggatt... (WO-372-12-55169: if it isn't him, two people with remarkably similar names both served with the Rifle Brigade and the Guards and died on the same day in 1917):

Leggatt WO372 crop.jpg
 
I think it's the rank differential causing the confusion?

London Gazette 21 November 1916 p.11262

Foot Guards
...
Logie Colin Leggatt, from. temp. Lt., Rifle Brig., to be'2nd Lt. 22nd Nov. 1916, with seniority from 5th Oct. 1914.
 

unicorn77

War Hero
Interesting. My grandad served with 6th btn Essex Reg joining up at the start of the war and landing at Gallipoli a couple of weeks after the initial landings. He then served throughout the Palestine campaign and didn't come home until 1919. He steadfastly maintained the rank of Private and I often wonder how he managed to do that. Must have taken some doing.
 
Interesting. My grandad served with 6th btn Essex Reg joining up at the start of the war and landing at Gallipoli a couple of weeks after the initial landings. He then served throughout the Palestine campaign and didn't come home until 1919. He steadfastly maintained the rank of Private and I often wonder how he managed to do that. Must have taken some doing.

It depends on the man, natural leaders are easy to spot. Reluctant leaders tend to hold back, not everyone is willing to be responsible for their mates.
The Palestine campaign of 1917 is very interesting to study, a few books cover it.
 
It appears that the clerks had a bit of a moment with him - he's also in the WO files as Logu Collin Leggatt... (WO-372-12-55169: if it isn't him, two people with remarkably similar names both served with the Rifle Brigade and the Guards and died on the same day in 1917):

View attachment 530235

What you've interpreted as 'Logu' could just as easily be 'Logie'.
 

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