Leonard Bradford Betts

Information about birth

Year of birth:
Place of birth:
Holloway, Middlesex, England, United Kingdom

General information

Railway Clerk

Army information

England, United Kingdom
British Expeditionary Force
Service number:
Enlistment date:
Enlistment place:
Camden Town, Middlesex, England, United Kingdom
 —  Machine Gun Corps, 23rd Coy.  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
Place of death:
Bellewaerde Ridge, Zonnebeke, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)


Distinctions and medals 4

Points of interest 3

#1 Place of birth
#2 Enlistment place
#3 Place of death (approximate)

My story

Serjeant Leonard Bradford Betts served in the Machine Gun Corps 23rd Company, part of the 23rd Brigade, of the 8th Division. The Division participated in the opening day of the Third Battle of Ypres.
The 8th Division attacked at 3.50 a.m. over the Bellewaerde Chateau grounds towards the Westhoek ridge. The 23rd Brigade was on the left flank, the 24th on the right flank of the Divisional front and the 25th Brigade was in support. The Machine Gun Corps 23rd Company was to support the advance of the 23rd Brigade. The Company had been detailed to move forward from their assembly trenches a little behind the advancing troops. And were to take up successive barrage positions in the captured territory, in order to cover the advance.
Despite the darkness and the terrible state of the ground the 2nd West Yorks and 2nd Devonshires captured the first objective, Blue Line, taking Ziel House on the way. They were followed by the 23rd MG Coy, which had already lost a gun due to German shell fire. Guns were mounted North of Bellewaerde Lake. Two guns were positioned at the junction of Idiot Reserve and Idiot Drive, engaging various German parties near Bellewaerde Lake. And at Bellewaerde Lake (I.12.b.5.0 – I.12.b.5.4), supporting the troops with machine gun barrages. Targeting German positions near the railway at Frezenberg (J.1.b.80.83 – J.2.a.05.50). When rounds of ammunition were supplied the gun positions were heavily shelled and the men were ordered to take up positions at Lake Farm. They now fired at the positions at J.1 and J.2 and new positions at D.26.c.30.4. – D.26.c.80.00.
The Black Line, the final objective, was captured and consolidated except for the hamlet of Westhoek. The Machine guns were then placed in defensive positions along the Blue and Black Line.
Serjeant Leonard Bradford Betts was killed during the attack on Bellewaerde. He probably fell between the 23rd MG Company’s jump-off positions at Crater Trench and Lake Farm. His remains were not recovered and he is remembered on the Menin Gate Memorial.

Files 1

Sources 6

"The Eight Division 1914-1918", Boraston J.H. and Cyril E.O., Uckfield, The Naval & Military Press, 1926, pg. 130-138.
Sources used
"The Third Ypres Passchendaele. The Day-by-Day Account", McCarthy C., London, Arms & Armour Press, 1995, pg. 23-25.
Sources used
Further reference
Sources used
The Long, Long Trail
Sources used
War Diary Machine Gun Corps 23rd Coy.
Further reference