Old Coathamians of World War One

Leslie Reginald Victor WILCHER

Second Lieutenant, 113 Brigade Royal Field Artillery.

Born 16 January 1898,
Died 8 May 1919, aged 21 years.

Buried in Cologne Southern Cemetery, Köln,
Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany, Grave XII.B.3.

There are almost 2,500 Commonwealth soldiers buried or commemorated in this German cemetery, the vast majority of whom died in captivity as prisoners-of-war. Second Lieutenant Wilcher, however, died almost six months after the War's end, at a time when Köln was occupied by the Allies under the terms of the Armistice. His death certificate records that he was accidentally killed by a fall from his horse whilst in the performance of a military duty. He had arrived in France a little over a year earlier, in March 1918, and would thus have seen the last eight months of fighting.

Leslie Reginald Victor Wilcher was the son of Louis Faithorn Wilcher and Elizabeth Maria Wilcher of ‘Ellerdene’, 183, Kirkstall Lane, Headingley, Leeds. The 1911 Census records there were five children in the family, although only four, three boys and one girl, are named. Leslie would appear to be the second son, and he was born in London. His father was the manager of an insurance company in Leeds and sent Leslie to Coatham Grammar School as a boarder in May 1913. He had previously attended The Modern School in Leeds. Leslie was 15 when he arrived at Coatham and stayed for three terms, leaving in April 1914. He became a clerk in an insurance office and the school Register notes he was “training for Commission in RFA”.