Gentle, Leonard

Leonard Gentle was the son of Leonard & Mizzzley Gentle, (nee Marshall) who married in St. Anne’s Church, in the Parish of Wrenthorpe in the County of York on the 1st January 1916.   Leonard was, 23 and upwards- as the Vicar wrote it on the marriage certificate, a bachelor and a Licenced Hawker, his father was William Gentle also a Hawker.   His bride was Mizzley Marshall, who’s age was described the same as her new husbands.    She was a spinster and her father, James Marshall was also a Hawker.   Their abode was Wrenthorpe, Yorkshire.   The witnesses were James Marshall, Charlott (Sic) Marshall & John Gentle.   They were married by Licence.

There is a Birth Certificate for a Leonard Gentle in the 4th Quarter of 1922 and registered i n Bolton, Lancashire with the mother’s maiden name as Marshall, (Volume 8C Page 477).  There are also two possible siblings, both with the mother’s maiden name as Marshall, one, Miriam S Gentle, born in Islington, in the March Quarter of 1916 (Islington, Vol. 1b, Page 404) and also Ethel Gentle, born in the December quarter of 1923 (Bolton Vol. 8c Page 510).    Any help with identifying any siblings would be appreciated.

There is also a marriage of an Ethel Gentle to a Francis Rhodes in the December quarter of 1948 at Farmworth*. (Farnworth  Vol. 10c Page 389)

*Farnworth is where Mizzley Gentle is buried.

As there are no published censuses after 1911, I cannot follow the family and so I do not know anything about young Leonard’s early life or teen years and the only time that the family are noted is on the sad death of young Leonard’s mother Mizzley, at the young age of 44 years in the June quarter of 1937 (Farnworth Vol. 8c, Page 435).

The next reference I have is on the 1939 National Register which was taken on the 29th September 1939 where I see that both father & son, Leonard Gentle are living at Pentre, in Chemistry Lane, where their abode was described as “Caravan & Tent,” however there are many of these on the page,  so I can only assume that there was lots of work and they had come from around the country to do it.   They were both Constructional Engineer’s Labourers.    Leonard Gentle , Senior had been born on the 23rd March 1892 and he was widowed, his son Leonard’s birthday was the 17th November 1922 and he was single.  There is another person whose record had been redacted or closed and sometimes it is a child, but not always, so I do not know who this person is.

British Army, Royal Welch Fusiliers 1807-1948 Registers tells us that he joined or enlisted on the 19th February 1942 and then was transferred to the Royal Fusiliers on the 11th December 1943, his documents were sent to Ashford on the 9th February 1944.

Leonard’s Casualty Form tells us that he was the only Royal Fusilier that was Killed that day and he is the only Royal Fusilier who is buried at the Coriano Ridge War Cemetery, indeed the CWGC Graves Concentration Report Form gives the indication the he was buried initially and then reburied at Coriano Ridge , but it is not clear where except to tell us it was at 7-A-12, again the only one that was at that site.

The following may help give an insight to the events that led to Leonard’s death, but he was in the middle of a very fierce fight when the Eighth Army invaded Italy.

Extract Taken from the Commonwealth War Graves  – History Information.

On 3 September 1943 the Allies invaded the Italian mainland, the invasion coinciding with an armistice made with the Italians who then re-entered the war on the Allied side. Following the fall of Rome to the Allies in June 1944, the German retreat became ordered and successive stands were made on a series of defensive lines. In the northern Apennine mountains the last of these, the Gothic Line, was breached by the Allies during the Autumn campaign and the front inched forward as far as Ravenna in the Adriatic sector, but with divisions transferred to support the new offensive in France, and the Germans dug in to a number of key defensive positions, the advance stalled as winter set in. Coriano Ridge was the last important ridge in the way of the Allied advance in the Adriatic sector in the autumn of 1944. Its capture was the key to Rimini and eventually to the River Po. German parachute and panzer troops, aided by bad weather, resisted all attacks on their positions between 4 and 12 September 1944. On the night of 12 September the Eighth Army reopened its attack on the Ridge, with the 1st British and 5th Canadian Armoured Divisions. This attack was successful in taking the Ridge, but marked the beginning of a week of the heaviest fighting experienced since Cassino in May, with daily losses for the Eighth Army of some 150 killed.

Also these websites  will give more insight:-

Gemmano . 1944

4th Attack to Gemmano September 14 -15, 1944 (look at the map below)

Royal Fusiliers were there for the  2nd Attack of Gemmano on the 8th – 10th September, (look at the map below)

Battle of Rimini (1944)

The Battle of Rimini took place between 13 and 21 September 1944 during Operation Olive, the main Allied offensive on the Gothic Line in August and September 1944, part of the Italian Campaign in the Second World War. Rimini, a town on the Adriatic coast of Italy, anchored the Rimini Line, a German defensive line which was the third such line forming the Gothic Line defences.

Rimini, which had been hit previously by air raids, had 1,470,000 rounds fired against it by allied land forces.

The battle of Rimini was one of the hardest battles of Eighth Army. The fighting was comparable to El AlameinMareth and the Gustav Line (Monte-Cassino).

The Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment). 

Leonard was loved and missed by his family, as his name was put forward to be included on the WW2 War Memorial at Hawarden, so his family must have been in the area in the 1950’s, although I do not know if he had any siblings, any information would be gratefully received.

Learn more about the other soldiers on the Hawarden Memorial

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