An Old Coathamian – Not Forgotten

Richard Granger LENNARD

Second Lieutenant, 24th (Service) Battalion
(1st Tyneside Irish), Northumberland Fusiliers.

Born 22 April 1890,
Died 6 May 1917, aged 27 years.

Buried in Liège (Robermont) Cemetery, Liège,
Belgium, Grave 15.

Shown on the School Memorial Plaque as serving in ‘4th Dragoon Guards’ (or, to give that cavalry regiment its full title, 4th (Royal Irish) Dragoon Guards), but shown on his gravestone, and confirmed in Commonwealth War Graves Commission records, as serving in 24th (Tyneside Irish) Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers. It is likely that, from being a non-commissioned officer in the Dragoons, he was subsequently transferred and commissioned in the field as a second lieutenant in the Northumberland Fusiliers, an infantry regiment. This was not an unusual procedure as the war proceeded, when regiments, particularly infantry regiments, needed urgently to replace fallen officers.

Liège was overrun by the Germans in August 1914 and remained in German hands until the end of the War in 1918. The Germans used part of the city’s civilian cemetery in Robermont for the burial of Allied prisoners-of-war. This suggests that Second Lieutenant Lennard died after capture. There are in the cemetery 50 graves of Commonwealth forces, as well as those of French, Belgian, Italian and Russian soldiers. His family memorial in Redcar Cemetery confirms that he “died of wounds in enemy hands”.

Richard Granger Lennard was the son of William George Lennard and Elizabeth Lennard, of 14, Henry Street, Redcar. His father was a confectioner, and his parents had seven children, although only four survived into adulthood, that is, Richard and three older sisters. He came to Coatham Grammar School as a Sir William Turner’s Foundation Scholar in September 1902, aged 12, and remained until July 1906, leaving when he was 16. In the 1911 Census the profession of both father and son is recorded as ‘baker and pastrycook’.