Leonard Glynne Lewis joined the Hostel as a scholar from Pontypridd Grammar School in September 1907. Always known as ‘Siwel’, he was recalled The Breconian as “a gallant and cheerful soul” and a popular and amiable friend. As well as gaining academic prizes, he participated in the annual Athletic Sports and gained his colours in rugby football, hockey and cricket.
‘Siwel’ gained his London Matriculation in July 1912 and an annual scholarship for £20 to St David’s College, Lampeter. He joined St David’s College in 1912. After gaining honours in his Classical Moderations in 1914, he enlisted and joined the 4th Public Schools Battalion, Royal Fusiliers.
Landing in France in November 1915, the Battalion first saw action in the Battle of Albert, which commenced on 1st July as part of the major Somme offensive.
On 26th April 1917 Leonard Glynne Lewis was commissioned Second Lieutenant and attached to the 18th Battalion (2nd Glamorgan) Royal Welsh Regiment. In advance of the Battle of Cambrai, Second Lieutenant Lewis was awarded the Military Cross. The citation, published in The London Gazette of 19th March 1918, reads:
“For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He guided a raiding party to the assembly position, and thence to a gap in the enemy’s wire, a distance of 800 yards. With his sergeant he was the first of his party to enter the enemy trenches. Although stunned by a bomb on entering, he led forward with courage and determination, and with a small group of men continued the clearing of the trench until time for the withdrawal.”
On 23rd November the 18th Battalion was called to reinforce the line for the Battle of Cambrai, the first large-scale tank offensive of the war. In the forefront of action that was costing hundreds of lives an hour, Second Lieutenant Leonard Glynne Lewis was killed on 24th November. His body was never found.
Second Lieutenant Leonard Glynne Lewis MC (‘Siwel’) is remembered on the Cambrai Memorial, Louverval as well as on the Christ College War Memorial.
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