Memorial .Ploegsteert MemorialPanel 10.Ploegsteert

Awards & Titles:


Family :

  Son of Joseph Frederick and Joan R. Stern, of Synagogue House, Stepney, London.

Education & Career :

Scholar of Magdalene College, Cambridge. B.A. (Cantab.).

Military :

Unit :  13th Battalion London Regiment (Kensington Btn)  

Action : The Battle of Aubers 

Action :

STERN, Leonard Herman, 2/Lieutenant, 1/13 London Regiment (Kensington Btn) Leonard STERN was killed at the Battle of Aubers Ridge in May 1915. This battle was very costly and provoked questions in Parliament. The assault was initially successful but as with most trench battles the problem was not to break into the defences, but to break through them. The assault of the 1/13th formed the left column of the 25th Brigade was successful. On the explosion of two mines at 05.40hrs 9/5/1915 the leading companies occupied the two resulting crates, and on arrival of the supporting troops which pushed up under heavy fire, they went on beyond Delangre Farm passing the German third trench. Then as ordered they swung left and occupied the German communication trench to form a protective flank. After a strong German counter attack at 02.30hrs 10th May, strenuous efforts were made by 2/Berks and 2/Lincs to reinforce the 1/13 Londons. Although parties of both Battalions succeeded in entering the mine craters and German trenches their numbers were insufficient to maintain the position. The men of the 1/13 London and their reinforcements were forced to return to the British lines. By 03.00hrs all British troops were back in their own lines and the enemy had regained its front line. 1/13 London casualties; 13 officers and 423 O/R out of 21/602 - a casualty rate of 70%. Leonard Herman Stern. was the elder son of the Rev Joseph Frederick Stern, Minister of the East London Synagogue, Stepney. He was educated at The Preparatory School, Holly Hill, Hampstead and University College School. Proceeding Cambridge in 1910 as Exhibitioner in Classics at Magdalane College, he was elected Scholar of his college in the following year. He also held the Cambridge Jewish Exhibition. He graduated in 1913 taking a First Class Honours in Classics. He obtained his college football colours in 1912 in which year he played in the College team against Magdalen College, Oxford. He was a member of his school Cadet Corps, and subsequently joined the Cambridge OTC in which he obtained the rank of Sergeant. Throughout his stay at the University he took an part in the affairs of the Cambridge Hebrew Congregation holding in succession the several synagogue offices. He was an occasional speaker at the Union Society, and read several papers at college societies. He devoted a considerable part of his vacations doing social work in East London being a manager of the Stepney Jewish Lads Choir and the Oxford and St George Lads Club. He also took a keen interest in the Boy Scouts movement and became a scout master of the 7th Stepney Troop. On the outbreak of war he co-operated with other Toynbee House workers in the organisation of the East London Scouts for public service in the Metropolis. He enlisted with the ranks of the Kensington Battalion together with a number of the lads of his scout troop, and shortly after was made a Sergeant in his company. He obtained his commission as 2nd Lieutenant in the same Regiment on the 6th Feb 1915 and left for France on 7 March 1915. He was wounded several times and was killed in action at the Battle of Aubers Ridge. Telegrams went out to the next of kin...Leonard Stern, age 24, of the Kensingtons, son of a minister of the East London Synagogue and active in the social work of Toynbee Hall (Source: Reg Pound, The Lost Generation). Colonel Fred Lewis wrote ' He fell gallantly, He had a dangerous job but went through with it setting a fine example to his men. i grieve to think it cost him his life. We have lost a promising officer.' And Major N.E Stafford, in notifying his death to the Depot officer of the Regt said ' he met his death leading his men in the true British way. Although he had only been with us a short time he had already won the esteem of his brother officers. He was put in charge of the bombers and showed zeal and initiative in his way. Colonel Lewis, who has gone to hospital very desires me to express his great regreat at the loss of such a promising officer'. There is a memorial in the East London Synagogue which states he was born at Synagogue House, Stepney, 12 Sept 1891 and was 'a worthy son of the sanctuary true to faith and country'. Another inscription on the memorial says 'wherewith small a young man keep his way pure by taking need there to according to the word' Pslam CXX.9. His brother officer and Brother Mason Lieutenant Robert Murray MACGREGOR of the 1/13 Battalion fell with him. Sources; Tom Thorpe Stern, Rev. J. F. and Rev. S. Levy. Sermons Preached at The East London Synagogue; ?Promise and Fulfilment? and ?A Son of the Sanctuary? Memorial Sermons for Leonard Herman Stern, killed in action, Flanders, 1915. 32 pp. de Ruvigny's Roll of Honour,, Vol 1 British Jewry BookOf Honour

Fought on 9th and 10th May 1915 and intended to support the French attacks near Arras, this battle was notable for the remarkable bravery of infantry having to cope with inadequate planning, poor artillery support and not least a very competent enemy that had learnt the lessons of Neuve Chapelle just two months before. It also highlighted the problems of quantity and quality in artillery shell supply - a symptom of the general unpreparedness of Britain to fight a major European war, and not really rectified until well into 1917. Possibly one of the least known but most heartbreaking battles of the war, fought in an attempted pincer attack around the village of Neuve Chapelle with the intention of securing the 'high' ground that dominated the approaches to Lille.

Masonic :

TypeLodge Name and No.Province/District :
Mother : Halcyon No. 3546 E.C.London

16th February 1914
18th May 1914
11th October 1914

Source :

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Last Updated: 2017-08-09 07:52:22