b. 04/12/1888 Buckden, Huntingdonshire. d. 01/07/1916 Foncquevillers, France.
John Leslie Green (1888-1916) was born at “Coneygarths”, High Street, Buckden, near St Neot’s, Huntingdonshire on 4th December 1888. He was known as Leslie as to avoid confusion with his father, John George Green BA JP, a farmer of 165 acres. He was commissioned into the Huntingdonshire Miliita in 1879 and promoted to Lieutenant in 1880. He was promoted to Captain in 1886 in the 5th King’s Royal Rifle Corps (Militia), and resigned his commission in 1895. Leslie’s mother was Florence May nee Toussaint, who was born in the Punjab, India in 1863. His parents married on 24th November 1886 in St Stephen’s, Twickenham. Leslie had five siblings, though three died in infancy, leaving Dora Margaret and Edward Alan as his surviving siblings. Sadly, Edward would be killed in action on 13th October 1915.
Leslie was educated at St Catherine’s School, Haslewood Avenue, Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire before attending Felsted School in Essex from 1902-1906. He gained a scholarship to Downing College, Cambridge (BA Natural Science 1910) and went on to train as a doctor at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London (MRCS & LRCP 1913). He became house surgeon at Huntingdon County Hospital and also went to West Africa as a surgeon on an Elder Dempster Line ship.
He was commissioned as Acting Lieutenant on 28th September 1914. He went to France on 2nd March 1915 and was attached successively to 1/5th South Staffordshire, 1/2nd North Midland Field Ambulance and 1/5th Sherwood Foresters, before being promoted to Captain on 1st April.
Leslie married another doctor, Edith May Nesbitt nee Moss MB BS in London on New Years Day 1916. There were no children. She was a medical student at College Hall, Byng Place, London in 1911 and was on the staff of Nottingham hospital at the time of her husband’s death. She would later marry an American man in 1919.
On 1st July 1916 at Foncquevillers, France, although himself wounded, he went to the assistance of an officer who had been wounded and was hung up on the enemy's wire entanglements, and succeeded in dragging him to a shell hole, where he dressed his wounds, notwithstanding that bombs and rifle grenades were thrown at him the whole time. Captain Green then endeavoured to bring the wounded officer into safe cover, and had nearly succeeded in doing so when he himself was killed.
He was buried in Foncquevillers Military Cemetery and his will was administered by his father at £234/2/6. The VC was presented to his widow by King George V at Buckingham Palace on 7th October 1916; it is believed it was the first presentation of a posthumous VC to a relative by a monarch rather be sent by post.
In addition to his VC, he was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal 1914-20, and Victory Medal 1914-19. His widow presented the medals to the Royal Army Medical Corps and they are held at the Museum of Military Medicine, Keogh Barracks, Mytchett, Surrey.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: MUSEUM OF MILITARY MEDICINE, KEOGH BARRACKS, ALDERSHOT.
BURIAL PLACE: FONCQUEVILLIERS CEMETERY, FRANCE.
Cemetery Plan courtesy of Kevin Brazier
PLOT III, ROW D, GRAVE 6
Picture - Thomas Stewart
National Memorial Arboretum
War Illustrated, 2nd September 1916
War Illustrated, 2nd June 1917