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Remembered Today:

Pte 19085 William Neal 9th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment Conundrum


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I have been given a wonderful WW1 Christmas postcard written on 1st August (postmarked 4th August) and addressed to Miss Annie Neal in Wormington, Gloucestershire, from her loving brother 'Tom' or could possibly be 'John'.

 

As far as I have been able to find out Annie didn't have a brother called 'Tom' or 'John', a younger sister Daisy (who is mentioned on the card) and a younger brother called William.

 

William Neal was born in Ferndale (Pontypridd) in 1895 the youngest son of William Neal and Mary Neal who died in 1895 shortly after William was born. The family moved to Wormington, Gloucestershire, and William worked at the Gas Works in Broadway, Worcestershire. He enlisted with 9th Batt. Gloucestershire Regiment in early Feb 1915, aged 19yrs and 9mths but by May 1915 had been convicted of a felony (Para 392 X Kings Regs) and spent 6 weeks in Gloucester jail before being discharged.

 

Am I right in thinking that William possibly re-enlisted with the army under a false name hence the postcard from the front from a man I don't think ever existed?

 

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A contemporary newspaper account describes him as William Neale (19) alias Leonard Kempson, a private in the 9th Gloucesters. He stole a sovereign from his landlady's purse.

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58 minutes ago, IPT said:

A contemporary newspaper account describes him as William Neale (19) alias Leonard Kempson, a private in the 9th Gloucesters. He stole a sovereign from his landlady's purse.

 

Thank you! Was it reported in the Cheltenham/Gloucester newspapers? I didn't think to check as I hadn't considered that it would have been reported.

 

I have put together a list of men from Broadway who enlisted (mainly gathered from the absentee voters list) and Pte 19084 Leonard Kempson from Broadway with the 9th Glosters is on my list. I will now research him too!

 

Thanks again.

 

 

 

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Gloucestershire Echo - 12th April 1915.

 

That's interesting. 19084 Leonard Kempson, and 19085 William Neal (alias Leonard Kempson).

 

Presumably, they enlisted on the same day. They were around the same age and both from Broadway, so likely knew each other. Perhaps Neal took the room under Kempson's name. He had only been staying there two nights when he committed the theft. I see that he had only recently been released from a 28 day sentence prior to this.

 

 

 

 

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Thanks - I have now found the Gloucester Echo article.Leonard Kempson wrote to the Editor of the Echo (letter published the following day) to clarify that he was not William Neal that he 'owned the name Leonard Kempson' and that it was the second time William had used his name!

 

I can only wonder what name he must have used to enlist again at a later date. I doubt he could have returned to either Broadway or Wormington, small villages with nowhere to hide that would not have been very welcoming.

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This picture from the pictorial Chelt & Glos Graphic dated 5 Aug 1916 is of a group of 9th Glosters now in Greece and includes a Pte Kempson (Broadway), so pretty certain it is your man Leonard Kempson

 

Dave

Kempson.JPG

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On ‎16‎/‎11‎/‎2016 at 11:11, IPT said:

You don't say which year the letter was written. Is it known?

The postcard was posted in France in August 1918 - as it is addressed 'My dear Sister' from 'Your brother Tom' again I think it suggests that his name isn't Tom - why add 'Your brother' having addressed it to your sister?

 

The letter in the Echo was published the following day to the court article - April 1915.

 

 

 

 

 

 

On ‎16‎/‎11‎/‎2016 at 17:48, dink999 said:

This picture from the pictorial Chelt & Glos Graphic dated 5 Aug 1916 is of a group of 9th Glosters now in Greece and includes a Pte Kempson (Broadway), so pretty certain it is your man Leonard Kempson

 

Dave

Kempson.JPG

 

 

Thanks I should look up where the 9th Glosters were in August 1918.

 

Great photo!

 

Thanks again.

 

Debbie

 

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