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Home - Remembrance & Memorials - Local Graves & Memorials - Leighton Buzzard

Introduction

This article concens Leighton Buzzard War Memorial.

Leighton Buzzard

Leighton Buzzard is a town in south-west Bedfordshire. "Leighton" came from an Old English word, meaning 'farm in a clearing in the woods'. The "Buzzard" was added by the Dean of Lincoln, in whose diocese the town lay in the 12th century. Having two communities called "Leighton" and seeking some means of differentiating them, he added the name of his local Prebendary or representative to that of the town. At that time it was a Theobald de Busar and so over the years the town became known as Leighton Buzzard. The other Leighton became Leighton Bromswold.

Leighton Buzzard War Memorial

In front of All Saints' Church, an Early English parish church dating from 1277, is Leighton Buzzard War Memorial. It commemorates the sacrifice of men from the town in the First World, Second World and Korean Wars.

The following article is taken from the "The Luton News & Bedfordshire Advertiser" (Thursday 6 November 1919):

The Leighton Buzzard War Memorial Committee has secured a large slab of granite, 25 feet long and 3 feet square, which will be worked into a suitable stone in memory of those who have fallen. The weight of the granite is nearly twenty tons, and it is proposed that the stone shall be erected as simply designed as possible. The memorial will consist merely of the stone with a cross at the head, and will bear the names of the men of Leighton who laid down their lives.

The picture below is taken from "The Sphere" (23 April 1921). It appeared in a series of illustrations titled "Memorials to the Brave in Towns and Villages". The memorial was described in the article as "... the largest one-piece granite monolith in the British Isles. It weighs 22 tons".

Leighton Buzzard War Memorial in 1921 (The Sphere 23 April 1921).

Leighton Buzzard War Memorial (Stephen Stratford 2017).

First and Second World Wars

Click here to view the list of First and Second World War casualties.

First World War Gallantry Awards

Two soldiers are listed on the war memorial as being awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM). However, Private F. Boyce was awarded the Military Medal (see below) and not the DCM.

Lieutenant J. A. Pouchot, DCM

The only DCM awarded to the men listed on the war memorial was awarded to 2159 Private J. A. Pouchot, 16th County of London Battalion, The London Regiment (Queen's Westminster Rifles), Territorial Force.

John Auguste Pouchot, also called Jack, was born on 2 April 1899 in St. George, Hanover Square, London. The 1901 Census records him living with his Father Auguste Francois Pouchot (born St. George, Hanover Square, London), an auctioneers manager, and his Mother Emily Marion Pouchot (born Bletchley, Buckinghamshire), at 29 Claverton Street, Westminster, London.

The school book for the Leighton Buzzard British School records that on 21 January 1907, John August Pouchot was admitted to the school, having previously been educated in Fenny Stratford.

On 15 September 1911, the following article appeared in The Bedfordshire Times and Independent newspaper:

The funeral took place on Saturday at the Fenny Stratford Cemetery, of the late Emily Marion Pouchot, aged 36, who met her sad death from burning injuries received at the late hotel fire in Leighton Buzzard. The remains were brought from Leighton Buzzard by road, the chief mourners following in coaches, these comprising Mrs. Thomas Holdom (mother), Master Pouchot (son), Mrs. Meredith Day (sister), Mr. George Holdom (brother), Mr. and Mrs. C. H. Holdom, Mr. and Mrs. Hammond, Mr. W. Woods, Mr. W. J. Makeham and the two nurses who had been attending on the deceased since the accident. There were a large number of people in the cemetery. The Vicar, the Rev. J. H. Firminger, conducted the service.

The notification of the award appeared in the London Gazette dated 23 June 1915, with the following citation published in the London Gazette dated 30 June 1915:

For conspicuous gallantry on 8th January 1915, in going, in the face of a heavy fire, to the assistance of Corporal Roche and Private Tibbs, who had been mortally wounded.

[Corporal Richard de Rupe Roche and Private Tibbs died of their wounds. Both are buried, in adjacent graves, in Houplines Communal Cemetery Extension, France.]

John August Pouchot (From The Daily Mirror, Friday 4 June 1915).

The Bucks Herald newspaper, dated Saturday 10 July 1915, contained the following account of John Pouchot's gallantry:

The Distinguished Conduct Medal has been conferred upon Rifleman J. Pouchot, formerly of the Bell Hotel, Leighton Buzzard, for his gallant conduct in trying to save the life of a wounded comrade. A corporal was returning to the trench after getting some water when dawn broke, and he was shot by a German sniper. Rifleman Pouchot and another comrade went to his assistance, but the comrade was shot dead, and Pouchot continued the work alone until the wounded man was beyond human aid.

Later during the First World War, Private Pouchot was awarded his commission and transferred to the Royal Flying Corps, serving with 56 Squadron. Lieuteant Pouchot died on 8 October 1918, and is buried in Marcoing British Cemetery (Plot I, Row C, Grave 20). In addition to the DCM, Lieutenant Pouchot was awarded the 1914 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.

Military Medal recipients

Four soldiers who died during the First World War were awarded the Military Medal: Lance-Corporal F. Boyce (London Gazette 14 November 1916), Private E. Holmes (London Gazette 18 October 1917), Colour Sergeant-Major E. R. Matthews (London Gazette 14 May 1919) and Colour Sergeant-Major W. D. Toe (London Gazette 17 April 1917).

The Korean War

The memorial contains the names of two men who died in the Korean War 1950-53: Private G. Hyde and Major J. H. Procter.

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