2nd Lieutenant Dennis Claude Grant St Leger of the 295th Brigade Royal Field Artillery was born in Madras, India on 24th December 1892. His parents were William Douglas and Helen Louise St Leger. He was sent back to England to attend school and was a boarding pupil at Milton Abbas Grammar School in Blandford at some time after 1902
In the 1911 census he is shown as living in England with his mother and siblings at 90 Uplands Road, Stroud Green, Hornsey and is a bank clerk. This was the recorded civilian occupation of at least three of the Milton Abbas ex-pupils to appear on their memorial. His uncle Hugh Anthony St. Leger lived in Benfleet Essex. Almost certainly it appears his uncle was instrumental in getting his name on the Benfleet War Memorial, as having been born in India this was their family base.
He joined the Royal Field Artillery in September 1914 and soon was quickly promoted a corporal. He embarked for France in October 1915 after a year training in England. He was recommended for a commission ‘in the field’ after two years in the ranks, returning to train at a Royal Artillery Officer Cadet School in Exeter in early 1917. He received his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant on 4th October 1917. Lieutenant St.Leger was recorded as missing on 21st March 1918 and died the next day.
Dennis was captured when accompanying 2/6th Sherwood Foresters (Nott’s & Derby) regiment as an Observation Officer directing Artillery fire when their position was overrun during the Battle of St Quentin on the 21st March 1918. He was carried, badly wounded, to a German dressing station at Cagnicourt. He died the next day. His initial burial by the Germans was lost for a time after the war but he was reburied in H.A.C Cemetery, Ecoust-St.Mein, France when the battlefield cemeteries were consolidated in the 1920’s. He was 25 years old. The commanding officer of 2/6th Lt Col Hodgkinson was also captured and added to the Battalion War Diary after the war an account of the attack on the 21st in which he listed the officers and men whose actions he felt were worthy of note. Of Dennis he wrote:
When Probate on his estate was registered in 1921 his executor was his father William Douglas St Leger an Organist in Madras. It appears his mother and family had returned to India and letters appear in his file at the National Archives from his fiancée Margaret Croker asking to be registered as an additional next of kin so that information could be exchanged more efficiently. William sailed to England on the SS Ormonde landing on 23rd February 1920. Sadly, he died on the 13th November 1921. Dennis St Leger’s estate was valued at about £200 which is £8,000 in 2014 terms, and his address was his uncles in Benfleet.