GOTHARD, William Leonard

Private William Leonard Gothard
10006 2/1st Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby) Regiment

William Leonard was born abt. 1889 at Greenhills, Riddings son of John Watts Gothard, an ironworks labourer and his wife Alice (nee Emmett) born Golden Valley. In 1901 the family are living at New Westwood, his father now employed as a bricklayer’s labourer. Siblings are:- Martha Ann b.1887, Beatrice Rebecca b. 1891, Sarah Elizabeth b. 1892, Ernest b.1895, Eva b. 1896, Charlotte b. 1898 and Margaret E. b. 1900. William’s brother Ernest also served in WW1 and is also named on the Jacksdale Memorial.

In 1911, as a regular soldier, William was billeted at South Raglan Barracks, Devonport, Plymouth, a magnificent premises, built in the 1860’s to defend Plymouth. (Today only the gatehouse remains as a neglected ruin.)

Photo: Raglan Barracks, Plymouth in its heyday. Courtesy www.daveuptonphotography.co.uk  
Gothard Raglan Barracks Plymouth sml

In 1913 William married Lucy Marriott and they had children Leonard b. 1914 and Gwendolyn Ida b. 1919 in the Basford District. (Gwendolyn later married a Hernaman).

In 1918, tragedy struck when Lucy’s brother, Charles Marriott, a twenty year old Sherwood Forester, lost his life due to being struck by a train on the GNR line at Jacksdale. Charles is buried in a CWGC grave at St. Mary’s, Westwood.

William Leonard embarked overseas with the British Expeditionary Force on 8th September 1914. By January 1918 he was a prisoner of war in Germany. Two other 1st/2nd Btn. Sherwood Foresters named on the Jacksdale War Memorial, Alfred Bacon and Thomas Henry Smith were also taken prisoners of war by the Germans. William’s Medal Rolls Index Card records that he was awarded the British War and Victory Medals but, surprisingly, no mention is made of a 1914 Star for which, as an “Old Contemptible”, he would certainly have qualified.

William’s wife, Lucy died in 1950 aged 59 and it seems that he re-married in 1952, his second wife being Nellie Prosser. Probate records indicate that William, occupation printer, died in 1955, aged 66, residence given as Burgh Road, Skegness.