Leslie Milbourne

1895 – 10th July 1916. Loyal North Lancashire Regiment (7th Battalion)

Leslie Milbourne was a former Manchester FC player who was killed in 1916 during the First World War. Leslie was born in Monton, Eccles, the son of John and Esther. He was educated at Manchester Grammar School, and grew up on Half Edge Lane, Eccles. He then went on to the University of Manchester, where he took a degree in commerce and trained for the Consular Service.

Milbourne had been playing for Manchester FC for a year by the time he got to university. In January, 1913, Milbourne played a sublime game in a cold and wet encounter against Broughton Park. Playing on the wing, Milbourne “ran strongly” an scored a try as part of the backs’ “excellent combination” who “handled the greasy ball very well.” He would score three more times that season.

In his final year, he also played rugby for the university. Milbourne passed his final exams, in French and German, in June 1914. He then left for Paris and further study.

When the war came, Milbourne, eager, immediately joined up, and was quickly gazetted into the loyal North Lancashire Regiment. The following year, he was back in France. There he was promoted to Lieutenant and also became a Bomb Officer.

In July 1916 Milbourne’s regiment was involved in the capture of La Boisselle, part of the first phase of the Somme Offensive, the Battle of Albert. Milbourne was leading an advance of his bomb squad when he was shot in the face and neck by a sniper. Six days later, he succumbed to his wounds in Boulogne.

Milbourne is buried at Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, Grave 11. A45.

Manchester Guardian
Manchester University
World Rugby Museum


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