Leonard Bloomfield

Rank: Private

Service Number: 2400

Date of Birth: 1894

Regiment:  A Coy, 1/5th Suffolk Regiment

Date of Death: 12 Aug 1915

Age at death: 21

Cemetery / Memorial: Helles Memorial

Country: Gallipoli, Turkey

Grave / Reference: Panel 46 and 47

Relatives: Son of William and Elizabeth Jane Bloomfield

Address: 113 Benton Street, Hadleigh

 Private Bloomfield's Medals and Memorial Plaque

Private Bloomfield's Medals and Memorial Plaque

 Private Leonard Bloomfield

Private Leonard Bloomfield

The medal collection and memorial plaque on the left were awarded to Leonard and are still owned and treasured by the family.  In addition the family have a large collection of photographs and memorabilia.

Private Leonard Bloomfield was one of six brothers who served King and Country during the Great War years.  Leonard was sadly killed, but his brothers all survived and their stories are told under the survivors link.  

Leonard was born in Hadleigh in 1895.  The 1911 Census report him living at home with his parents and siblings at 113 Benton Street, Hadleigh.  We are not sure exactly when he enlisted, but it seems like many other young men from Hadleigh, Leonard joined the local territorial battalion, the 5th Suffolk Regiment.  If we assume that Leonard had joined the battalion before war broke out then we know that he would have been mobilised on the night of the 4th/5th August 1914.  The battalion then spent a number of months carrying out home service tasks.  At that time territorial units were liable for home service only and were not required to deploy overseas.  However, when it became apparent that more troops would be needed for overseas service, the men of the battalion were asked to volunteer.  After giving this some serious thought, 72% of the men volunteered and the battalion was redesigned 1st/5th Suffolk Regiment.  Those who opted to stay on home service duties only, became the 2nd/5th.  

 Private Bloomfield's Medals

Private Bloomfield's Medals

The 1st/5th Suffolks completed their training and preparation and were re-equipped for service in the eastern theatre.  They embarked along with the rest of 163 Brigade and the 54 Eastern Division at the end of July from Liverpool bound for Gallipoli.  They arrived and went ashore at Suvla Bay on 10th August 1915 and were quickly moved forward and by midday on the 12th were manning the forward trenches on the Anafarta Plain.  At 4pm they were ordered forward as part of a 163 Brigade operation to clear the Plain of snipers in preparation for a much larger Divisional operation that was planned for the following day.  The battalion was on the left of the brigade line and 'A' Company made up of Hadleigh men were in the first wave.  There was at least 75 Hadleigh men involved and this was a true baptism of fire.  They were told it would be a straight forward advance to mop up the odd sniper, but in reality they faced a determined and ruthless enemy.  The enemies intimate knowledge of the ground was key.  They sniped the Suffolks who could not see the firing points and even if they could, they had no artillery support to combat the snipers.  In addition, the Turks made best use of their own artillery which ultimately halted the brigades advance.  The Suffolks fell back to a shallow river bed / ditch where they formed the new front line.  A few days later they were relieved and returned to the reserve trenches where they discovered that the attack had cost them dearly; 11 Officers and 178 Other Ranks were killed, wounded or missing.  Although official records suggest that many of the Suffolks went missing on or after the 21st Aug, we now believe that they were actually lost during the advance on the 12th.

 Landing beach at Suvla Bay

Landing beach at Suvla Bay

 Helles Memorial

Helles Memorial

 Leonard's mother at the family home at 113 Benton Street, c1911

Leonard's mother at the family home at 113 Benton Street, c1911

On that day, at least 16 men from Hadleigh were killed.  Due to the nature of the fighting, their bodies were never recovered from the battlefield until the early 1920s.  By then the remains were unrecognisable and could not be identified.  The remains were most likely buried in the Azmak Commonwealth War Grave Commission cemetery in an unmarked grave.  This cemetery is in the area were the Suffolks held the front line.  Their names are commemorated on the impressive Helles Memorial which stands on the southern tip of the Gallipoli peninsular.

 AMZAK cemetery

AMZAK cemetery

Leonard had 5 other brother's who all served King and Country during the great war years.  They all survived the war and decided that the first of them to have a son, would name him after Leonard in tribute.  Leonard's youngest brother Charles went on to have the first son and Leonard (Junior) grew up knowing that he had a connection to the uncle that he never met.  The Bloomfield family later moved away from Hadleigh, but still live local to Ipswich.  When the young Leonard became a grandfather, he told his grandchildren all about his uncle and the group paid a visit to the original family home at 113 Benton Street.  

 Leonard Bloomfield (Private Leonard's nephew) with his grandchildren visiting the family home.

Leonard Bloomfield (Private Leonard's nephew) with his grandchildren visiting the family home.

 

Click on the pictures below to view Leonard's gallery

 

We hope that this page has been able to tell the story of Leonard Bloomfield.  If you know of any information which might help to add to the story then please get in touch.