Leonard Johnson

Leonard is listed on the War Memorial as one of those who gave his life during the First World War.

Brothers Leonard and Ralph Johnson were both killed in action within five months of each other during the First World War in 1918. They are both commemorated on the Martham War Memorial. In many ways the rest of their short lives also ran in parallel.  

They were the only sons of Elijah & Emma Johnson, nee Reeve. They were both born at West Somerton: Leonard on 5th May 1895 and Ralph on 3rd Oct 1898.

In 1901 they lived with their parents at The Lion Inn at West Somerton where their father was the publican. Both their parents were born in Martham.

Both boys attended Martham village school, Leonard from 21st October 1901 and Ralph started on 2nd June 1902. They both left school when they became 14.

By 1911 the family had moved to Martham living to the east to the Green where their father, Elijah, was a self-employed bootmaker. At that time Leonard had left school and was a market gardeners’ labourer.

They both enlisted at Norwich; Leonard with the 7th Battalion Norfolk Regiment as Private 19725 and Ralph with the 7th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment as Private 41590.

Leonard died of wounds on 13th July 1918 and was buried in Niederzwehren Cemetery, Kassel, Hassen, Germany ref: IV. N. 16. He was 23 years of age.

The cemetery was begun by the Germans in 1915 for the burial of prisoners of war who died at the local camp. During the war almost 3,000 Allied soldiers and civilians, including French, Russian and Commonwealth, were buried there in 1922-23. It was decided that the graves of Commonwealth servicemen who had died all over Germany should be brought together into four permanent cemeteries. Niederzwehren was one of those chosen and in the following four years, more than 1,500 graves were brought into the cemetery from 190 burial grounds in Baden, Bavaria, Hanover, Hesse and Saxony.
War Memorial east side

Niederzwehren Cemetery

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