Pte 1st/4th Bn. Somerset Light Infantry
Research kindly supplied by Mr. Harry Frost
Born in Bridgwater in 1887, Leslie was the only child of Charles James and Kate Mary Goodland, as a boy he was a chorister at St. John's Church and attended Dr Morgan's School. In about 1912 his father Councillor C. J. Goodland, the Manager of John Board & Co. Brick & Tile Works acquired the license of 'The Cross Rifles Hotel' at the junction of the Bristol & Bath Roads in St. John's Bridgwater and installed his son Leslie as its licensee.
In 1914 Leslie Goodland and my grandfather went to enlist at Weston super Mare in Prince Albert's Somerset Light Infantry, my grandfather was accepted but Leslie was rejected twice on medical grounds before being finally accepted by the Somerset's in about 1916 after which he sailed to India. Leslie was very susceptible to Malaria which eventually took his life in the Military Hospital in Nilgiris on 29th April 1918, a bachelor aged 31, he was buried at Wellington Garrison Cemetery, and he is commemorated on the Madras 1914 - 18 War Memorial, Chennai. On 15 May 1918 the Bridgwater Mercury reported 'Town Councillor's Son's Death in India'
Hearing the news so close to the end of the war, Leslie's parents were in such shock that his mother was struck immediately deaf, having to use an ear trumpet for the rest of her life. Similar to many bereaved parents at the time they sought solace in Spiritualism and wrote regularly to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle of Sherlock Holmes fame. Sir Arthur had declared his belief in Spiritualism in 1916 and was to become one of its leading exponents.
In the absence of a war memorial in Bridgwater (The Kings Square Memorial was not erected until 1924) Leslie's parents erected a granite memorial to Leslie with his name on it in Wembdon Road Cemetery in the shape of a gravestone kerb and cross. This was obviously over an empty grave where they could place flowers.
Mr & Mrs Goodland were interred in the grave in 1940 & 1944 respectively and their names added to the memorial. The full inscription reads 'In Loving Memory of Leslie M. L. Goodland only son of C. J. & K. M. Goodland died April 29th 1918 at Wellington, Nilgiris, India aged 31. Promoted to Glory. Also of C. J. Goodland beloved husband of K. M. Goodland passed on June 1st 1940 aged 72 years. Also of Kate Mary Goodland who passed over July 27th 1944 aged 76 years. Re-United'.