2nd Lieutenant Lionel William Bowden Russell

Date of Birth 1 October 1895
Age at Death 21
Date of Death 20 September 1917
Service Number
Military Service 6th Battalion East Surrey Regiment
Merton Address 20 Park Road, Colliers Wood
Local Memorial Rutlish School, Merton

Additional Information

Lionel was born in Croydon on 1 October 1895, the elder son of Richard Bowden Russell, a commercial traveller, and Edith Maude Rosina Russell (nee Kent). His only sibling was a brother, Alan Cecil Russell who was born in 1899.

Lionel and his family were living in Cavendish Road, Colliers Wood at the time of the 1901 census but by 1911 they had moved to 20 Park Road, Colliers Wood and he had left Rutlish School and become a clerk in a journalist’s office.

He enlisted in 1915 in the Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment. He was quickly promoted to Corporal then returned to England to train as an officer. He was posted to the 6th Battalion, East Surrey Regiment, service number 9/31/712 and returned to France where the battalion were involved in the Battle of Passendaele.

He was killed in Flanders on 20 September 1917 and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot memorial.

His Commanding Officer wrote to his parents:

“I very much regret to inform you that your son Lionel was killed in action on the 20th inst in the recent push.
I have taken this the first opportunity to tell you how he fell leading his men.
The enemy had a strong point which had to be taken and your son led his platoon with that courage and dash that he has always shown and just as he had taken his position he fell dead- shot by a sniper.
I wish to make perfectly clear that he did not suffer one moment’s pain or suffering. He was not blown up by shell fire but shot I am told, through the head.
I know this will be a terrible shock to you and Mrs Russell. May I offer you sincerest sympathy on your sad loss. The only consolation I can offer you is that Lionel gave his life in the way that such a soldier and man as he would have chosen, I am sure.
Personally I have lost not only a very gallant officer but a man I count as a sincere friend. May God help you all to bear this blow.
Sincerely yours
Hector S Walker”


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