Leonard David Patch was born on 22nd October 1892, the oldest of four children to David and Fanny Patch from Norton-sub-Hamdon in Somerset. David was a stone mason, but when his eldest son left school, he found work as a carpenter.
When was came to Europe, Leonard was one of the first from the village to volunteer. Given the small size of Norton-sub-Hamdon, it seems likely that he would have done so with friends; many of the Pals Battalions were formed like this.
Leonard joined the Somerset Light Infantry as a Private, and was assigned tot he 7th Battalion. He was sent to Woking, Surrey, for training and it was while he was billeted there that he contracted measles. Moved to the Military Isolation Hospital in Aldershot, he developed pneumonia, and passed away from the lung condition on 25th February 1915. He was just 22 years of age, and had seen no military action.
Private Patch’s body was brought back to his home village, where he was laid to rest in the graveyard of St Mary’s Church, where he had been baptised two decades before.
Of Leonard’s brothers, two saw active service.
John Henry Patch, the second oldest of the siblings, service in the Royal Engineers, enlisting just ten months after his brother had died. He survived the war, married Linda Turner in Yeovil and went on to have a son, Norman. John passed away in February 1969, a few days after his 75th birthday.
Edward Lionel Patch – the third brother – served with the Devonshire Regiment. He too survived the war, marrying Honor Brown in 1923; they also had a son, called David. Edward passed away in Yeovil in 1966, aged 70 years old.
The youngest of the four brothers, Clarence William Patch, was born in 1899 and was lucky enough not to have seen military service. He married Emily Brown in 1924 and the couple had a daughter, Emmie. Sadly, she passed away as a babe-in-arms, and Emily was to follow soon after. In 1931, Clarence married again, to Emily Dyer; they went on to have a son, Douglas Leonard. Clarence passed away in 1945 at the age of just 46 years old.