CWG: Private Leslie Vines

Private Leslie Vines

Leslie Vines was born on 16th September 1898, and was one of seventeen children to John and Emma. John was an elastic web maker or braider from Stroud, Gloucestershire, and it was in nearby Wotton-under-Edge that he and Emma raised their growing family.

Braiding and weaving ran in the family: the 1911 census recorded six of the Vines’ children who were over school age were employed in the local mill. When he finished school, Leslie also found work there.

When war came to Europe, Leslie was eager to play his part. He enlisted in the Gloucestershire Regiment on 18th June 1915, just a month after his older brother, Wilfred, had joined up. His service records confirm that he was 5ft 2ins (1.57m) tall: Keen as he was to follow his older brothers into glory, he gave his age as 19 (two years older than he actually was) in order to be accepted for duty.

Private Vines’ eagerness, however, was to be thwarted. On 29th June, less than two weeks after joining up, he was discharged from service. Details are scant, but this seems to have been on the basis that, following his medical examination, he was considered to be unfit for duty.

At this point, Leslie’s trail goes cold and the next available record is that for his death on Armistice Day, 11th November 1918. He was just 20 years of age. While the cause of his passing is not readily available, it was not reported on in any of the contemporary newspapers, so is likely to have been of natural causes.

Leslie Vines was laid to rest alongside his brother, Private Wilfred Vines, in the graveyard of St Mary the Virgin Church in his home town, Wotton-under-Edge.

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