Leonard William Whiting 1895-1928

Grave of Leonard Whiting at Haverhill Cemetery.

Bury Free Press, 18th February 1928, Findmypast.co.uk.

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Parents: William Whiting and Elizabeth Binks (1)
Born: 8th November 1895 at 76 Burton End, Haverhill (1,2)
Baptised: 26th May 1897 at St Mary's Parish Church, Haverhill (1)
Married: Ivy Gladys Scott, 22, spinster of Haverhill, daughter of Harry William Scott, presser, on 24th September 1921 at St Mary's Church, Haverhill. Witnessed by Albert James Whiting and Rosa May Whiting.(3,4)
Children: Kenneth Ernest Whiting b.1923 and Cynthia Jean Whiting b.1926
Died: 12th February 1928 at 82b Southgate Street, Bury St Edmunds. Buried at Haverhill Cemetery on 15th February 1928.(5,6,7)

Bio: Leonard Whiting was the eldest son of William Whiting and Emily Binks, and was born at 76 Burton End on 8th November 1895.

He appears on the 1901 census aged 5 still living at the same address with parents and siblings and grandmother Emma Whiting, the wife of Moses Whiting, who was at that time confined in Broadmoor Asylum. At this time, Leonard's father William was a cloth cutter at Gurteen's, but before the next census he was to start his own business with the Rope, Twine and Sack company. We find Leonard working as a clerk on the 1911 census. He is living at the Rope Works in Camps Road, Haverhill with his parents and siblings.

Initially it was unclear if Leonard served during the Great War, however some records became available online for the First World War period which revealed that he did so.

It appears that he had attested on 10th November 1915 at age 19 and had a spell in the Army before joining the Royal Flying Corps as Air Mechanic 3, No.408411 on 21st January 1918, and then as a Private 2 when the RFC became the Royal Air Force on the 1st April 1918. It is not clear where he was in the intervening period.

He passed his medical with an 'A1' rating, and we get a description of him: His height was 5ft 6 ¾ inches, with a chest measurement of 29 ¼ inches. We also get to find out that he was a wireless operator, and he served in Egypt from 21st January 1918. He was transferred to the RAF reserve on 30th April 1919 (9).

After the war he returned to civilian life and when he married on 24th September 1921, he was working as a brewers clerk in Haverhill. His wife, Ivy Gladys Scott was the daughter of Harry William Scott and Caroline Jane Eves and were living at 32 Mount Road, Haverhill, on the 1911 census.

Leonard and Cynthia had two children, Kenneth, who was born in Haverhill in 1923 and Cynthia who was born in Bury St Edmunds in 1926.

The family had moved to Bury St Edmunds in the middle of the 1920's and can be found living at 13 Hospital Road in the 1925 Kelly's Directory.

Leonard Whiting died three years later, on 12th February 1928 aged just 32. He was a spirit store manager, and was living at 82b Southgate Street, Bury St Edmunds.

The Bury Free Press of 18th February 1928 reveals the cause of his death and fills in more details about his life: "The death occurred with painful suddenness on Sunday morning of Leonard W Whiting, of Myrtle Villa, Southgate Street, Bury St Edmund's, son of Mr and Mrs W. Whiting, of Brook Villa, Bury St Edmund's, and formerly of the Ropeworks, Haverhill. Deceased was taken ill only the previous Thursday, but pneumonia supervened, and he rapidly sank, a passing rendered all the more sad as he participated in a birthday party on the Tuesday, when his little boy became five years of age. One of a family of ten, he leaves also a widow and another child of 18 months, and much sympathy is extended to these and other relatives in their loss. Only 31 years of age, the late Mr Whiting was well known in the town and much liked and respected. He had been in charge of the wine and spirit department of Messrs. Greene, King and Sons, Ltd., having for 18 years been a loyal servant of the Company. Soon after the outbreak of the late war he joined the Suffolk Yeomanry, and went to the Eastern Front in 1916.

On being demobilised he returned to Bury St Edmund's, and then went, in the service of Messrs. Greene, King and Sons, Ltd., to Haverhill, being transferred to Bury St Edmund's four years ago. Although never of a robust constitution, he had always taken an active part in the various departments of the Brewery Athletics Club, and he was one of the first players when the Football Club came into being, but of late years he had chiefly been connected with the Bowls section, of which he had been hon. secretary for several seasons." The newspaper goes on to list the funeral arrangements and the mourners present, a long and interesting list of Whitings and individuals associated with the family (see newspaper extract on left).

He buried at Haverhill Cemetery on 15th February 1928. His gravestone reads 'Some day we'll understand' - a sad testament to his untimely passing. Probate with effects of £852 10s was granted to his widow Ivy Gladys.(5)

Ivy Gladys never remarried, and died in Bury St Edmunds in 1980.(8)


(1) Suffolk Baptism Register, Clare Deanery 1813-1900, SFHS
(2) Birth Register. 4th Quarter 1895, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 700
(3) Marriage Register. 3rd Quarter 1921, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 2219
(4) Suffolk Records Office, Bury St Edmunds, Parish Registers of St Mary's Church, Haverhill. Fiche 578/4/p19 of 37
(5) England and Wales, National Probate Calendar, Ancestry.com
(6) Death Register. 1st Quarter 1928, Bury St Edmunds District, Volume 4a Page 1108
(7) Haverhill Cemetery, Compartment M, Grave Space 350, Ref: 4572
(8) Death Register. 3rd Quarter 1980, Bury St Edmunds District, Volume 10 Page 2084
(9) Royal Air Force Muster Roll 1918 and Airmen's Service Records 1912-1939, AIR 79/3002, Findmypast.com