Private Ralph Cleaver, First World War Memorial Board in Eydon Village Hall.
Born in Eydon in 1894, ninth of ten children (including his brother Fred) of Thomas & Harriet Cleaver. Thomas was an agricultural labourer and said by Syd Tyrrell to be '..desperately poor..'. Enlisted in Oxford into the 1st/4th Battalion of the Ox & Bucks Light Infantry, some time before September 1915 and served in France and Flanders. In the first days of the Battle of the Somme the Battalion was in reserve but subsequently took part in the battle of Ovillers, with the loss of many lives. In mid-August 1916 they took over trenches to the east of Ovillers, and the next day there was heavy shelling of Skyline and Ration trenches. On August 14th, Ralph ....'was in a front line trench which was attacked by the Germans, who secured a section of the trench. Ralph was one of a very small party who volunteered to attempt to drive them out using hand grenades and was killed in hand to hand fighting.' The trenches were taken next day, but at a cost of 153 casualties - including Ralph Cleaver, whose grave is unknown. He was 22 years old.
Photographer: Unknown professional
Image lent by : Dr Kevin Lodge
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