Leonard George Rampton was born on 22 February 1886 at Tadley.
His parents were George and Edith Annie Rampton (née Lambert). George was a ‘General Labourer’.
He was the eldest son of seven children: Elsie Ellen, Leonard George, Harry Edward, Adelaide Annie, Florence May, Evelyn Nellie and Archie Edwin.
In the 1901 Tadley Census, aged 15 years, he was living with his parents in part of the cottage now called ‘The White House’ in the narrow lane (known as Rampton’s, Back or Old Lane)where William Monger (no. 14) also lived. His occupation was listed as an ‘Indoor Servant’, possibly at Heath End House, opposite the lane.
In the 1911 Census, aged 25 years, he was living at Herriard Park, Basingstoke. His occupation there was listed as ‘Head Groom’ and he was lodging with other employees at the Park.
Leonard was unmarried.
Leonard enlisted on 5 April 1913 and served as a corporal and acting sergeant in the 9th Battalion (Cyclist), Hampshire Regiment (service number 337).
The primary roles of cyclist battalions were reconnaissance and communications (message taking). Cyclists were armed as infantry and could provide mobile firepower if required. It was definitely for keen cyclists only; the 9th Battalion undertook training on Salisbury Plain, carrying .303 calibre rifles. Units that went overseas continued in these roles but also (once the mobile phase of war had settled down into entrenched warfare) spent much time in trench-holding duties and on manual work.
The 9th (Cyclist) Battalion was formed in 1911. It sailed to India in February 1916. Leonard had been invalided out by the time it left England. According to the Army Medical Board, exceptional hardship and exposure during troop training caused him to contract rheumatic fever in November 1914. Following a number of medical problems including rheumatic fever, appendicitis and a valvular disease of the heart, he was discharged from the army on 26 December 1915 as being “no longer physically fit for war service”. He had served solely in locations in the United Kingdom.
On leaving the army he returned to Herriard Park where he remained until his death. At his funeral the eulogy described him as of steady disposition and highly spoken of by all. Despite his illness he was always cheerful. He had been a respected member of the choir at Herriard for some years.
Of the men remembered on Tadley War Memorial, George Garrett, Herbert Golding, William Monger, Alfred Rampton, Leonard Rampton, Ernest Sandford, Louis Stacey, Tom Taylor and George
Warren all served with the Hampshire Regiment.
Leonard died of tuberculosis of the kidney and exhaustion at Hurst Farm, Herriard, Basingstoke on Wednesday 27 February 1918, aged 32.
He is buried in St Peter’s churchyard, Tadley.
Leonard’s name appears on both Tadley and Baughurst War Memorials. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the Army have stated that he does not qualify for commemoration as a war casualty.
Leonard was not entitled to any medals as he did not serve overseas.