Men of the 14th Royal Warwickshire Regiment preparing to leave for the front.

Fireman Leslie Claude Rann of Newport Fire Brigade, was killed in action with the 14th Royal Warwickshire Regiment on 13 April 1918 aged 19.

Leslie was born in Newport on 4 December 1898 to his parents Frank and Charlotte and baptised on 26 January at St Thomas's. They lived at 102 Pyle Street.

Prior to signing up for the army as soon as he was able Leslie had served with Newport Fire Brigade, it is believed initially as a boy messenger or knocker-up and latterly as fireman. He also worked with his father at the family hairdressing business in the town.

Leslie joined the 14th Warwickshire Regiment and shipped off to join them, initially in Italy, but later the unit relocated to northern France. He died during a phase of the Battle of Hazebrouck known as the Defence of Nieppe Forest. The battalion's war diary of the day states "The battalion having dug in awaits the enemy attacks. An attack is delivered about 11.00 am on Les Lauriers on the left of our line but is repulsed. 2Lt JFT Byrne and 2Lt J Poncie are wounded and 10 OR killed - 15 missing and 52 wounded."

We can assume that Leslie was one of those 10 other ranks killed in action at Nieppe Forest as on 27 April his father received the distressing news from his Commanding Officer who added; "his loss will be greatly felt throughout the company as he was most popular with both officers and men". Leslie was interred at Ploegsteert cemetery in Belgium where his name appears on the memorial.

Rest in peace Fireman Rann.

The Defence of Nieppe Forest click on the hyperlinked title to go to a web-page dedicated to the events of 13 April 1918 during the defence of Nieppe Forest.

Ploegsteert Memorial, Belgium.