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Legard, R.H., Capt., 1915

Old Dunelmians Roll of Honour 1919

Newcastle Journal Wednesday 18th August 1915

2nd DLI Map of the Hooge area

Medal Index Card for Captain Legard

Newcastle Journal Friday 29/08/1915

On the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial is the name of Captain Ralph Hawksworth Legard, 4th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry, attached to "B" Company, 2nd Battalion, who died on the 9th August 1915.

Ralph Hawksworth Legard was born at Westhorpe House, Scarborough on the 29th July 1875, the second son of John Hawksworth Legard [Author and Journalist], and his wife Frances, [Fanny], Duncombe Legard, [nee Coates], who was the daughter of the Reverend Slingsby Duncombe Shafto, born 1811, married in 1838, to a Frances Hunter, daughter of Joseph Hunter. The other son was George Shafto Legard, born 1874, died September 1924, when Headmaster of Bow School.

His father was born at Fangfoss on the 30th April 1838, baptised on the 20th May 1838, and died on the 1st March 1906, buried on the 3rd March 1906 at the Ealing and old Brentford Cemetery. Fanny Duncombe Coates was born at Flaxton in 1840. They were married on the 24th April 1873, at St Michael's Church Chester Square, Middlesex. [This was her second marriage, as she was previously married to Major John Wynd Coates in 1863].

[John Hawksworth Legard parents were George Shafto Legard, born 10th June 1802, a Magistrate, and Ann Elizabeth Legard born on the 7th November 1806, died 22nd June 1887, leaving her personal estate of 691 9s 5d to her next of kin and son Albert George Legard, of Whitkirk Grange Leeds].

In 1881 the family were residing at 17 Regent Square, Penzance, Cornwall, Ralph was at school, as was his brother George. His two elder sisters Gertrude, born 1869 and Blanche, born 1871 were also at School, they had a domestic servant residing with them called Mary Spargo, Married, age 36, from Plymouth and a Housemaid called Mary Spargo, unmarried, age 18, from Guernsey.

By 1891, Ralph's mother had died on the 22nd June 1887, and his father was now a Widower. The two daughters had left the household but the two boys were still residing with him. They were by this time, residing at 7 Eastmearn Road, Lambeth, London.

Ralph was educated at Durham School 1887 to 1889, then Dulwich College, 1890 to 1902. Ralph played Rugby football in the 97/98 season, played as a forward against Dulwich College, London Hospital, Mill Hill and St Georges Hospital. Midweek games it seems. Most of these games were played in October and November. Then December 31st, a game against Lennox, while a 1st XV fixture, this may have been a weakened side as Park had just toured the West Country over the Xmas period, and having been away for a week I suspect players were looking for a rest on New Years Eve.

He also played for the Harlequins and Rosslyn Park Clubs, where he is remembered on their replacement War memorial.

Ralph in 1901 was residing at 47 Stile Hall Gardens, Chiswick. London, with just his father now age 63.

His father John Hawksworth Legard died on the 1st March 1906. Ralph Hawksworth Legard, 'Gentleman', joined the Army on the 7th May 1906, gazetted to be a Second Lieutenant, in the 4th Battalion Durham Light Infantry. Promoted on the 14th May 1907 as a Lieutenant.

In 1911 he was a boarder residing at 42 Mersea Road, Colchester, Essex the home of an army pensioner called William Thomas Spencer, who use to be a Government Messenger.

Ralph was promoted to a Captain on the 11th August 1914, [an earlier entry from the Gazette was mistaken with the announcement, stating 11th March], from the 3rd Battalion Durham Light Infantry.

On Monday 4th August 1913, there was a visit of about 800 men and officers of the 4th Battalion Durham Light Infantry to Sunderland which provided and interesting spectacle for the thousands of holiday-makers at Roker. The soldiers travelled from Barnard Castle to Pallion, by train, arriving about 2.30 p.m. From here they marched by way of Silksworth Row, High Street, Bridge Street, and Roker Avenue to the Cliff Park, Roker where they encamped. The progress of the military through the street and their operations at the Roker encampment were watched with considerable interest by large crowds of people.
The battalion was under the command of Lieut.-Col, W. H. Briggs, and among the other officers present were : Major K. J. W. Leather (second in command), Major E. S. Curling, see D47.156a, Major Sir Henry Havelock-Allan, Major and Adjutant E. A. Blake.

He was attached to the 2nd Battalion Durham Light Infantry and arrived in France with the Battalion on the 25th October 1914, with a group of officer replacements, [not September, the War Diary confirms his date of arrival]. He was allocated to 'B' Company, and his batman was 11278 Private F. W. Millard also of the 2nd Battalion Durham Light Infantry.

He was killed on the 9th August 1915 at the Battle of the Hooge, on the enemy's parapet. According to newspaper reports, his Batman ran to his assistance when he fell. He subsequently died of gunshot wounds consistent with being shot from within a trench in an upwards direction.

Source : Old Dunelmians at War

Ralph Hawksworth Legard left a will of 1447 7s 10d to Blanche Frances Madeleine Wind Davies (wife of Horatio Gordon Davies) dated 16th November 1915.

On the 20th November 1920, his brother Captain G. S. Legard applied for his brother's Medal 1914 Star. This was sent to Bow School, Durham where his brother was the Headmaster.

He is remembered at Durham on D47.020, D47.043 and in D47.013c page 207, and D47.057, page 215.

Footnote: Dulwich College shows an incorrect theatre of War of where he died.

Durham ar War
With the British Army in Flanders and France
Hooge WW1 Battlefield today
Rugby at War
The CWGC entry for Captain Legard

If you know more about this person, please send the details to janet@newmp.org.uk