Robert Leonard Mann was born in Finchley, London in 1897. He came up to New House for the four years immediately prior to the outbreak of the war. He went to train as an accountant and was articled to the firm of Morrish Grant and Co in London.
On reaching his 18th birthday in July 1915, he enlisted with the Artists’ Rifles and was then gazetted as 2nd Lieutenant to the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers in November of that year. Moving to the 16th Battalion, he went to France in July 1916, but not to the Somme.
He was killed in action near Ypres on 9th October 1916 and is buried in Essex Farm Cemetery in Boesinghe, alongside fellow Oundelians, Douglas McMichael and Eric Yarrow. It was in this cemetery that the Canadian poet John McCrae penned his most famous lines, the poem entitled ‘In Flanders Fields’. The second verse is particularly poignant and the poem established the poppy as the emblem of the Fallen.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Robert Leonard Mann was just 19 years old at the time of his death.