SECOND LIEUTENANT LESLIE GORDON PEASTON
21ST MARCH 1918 AGE 23
BURIED: JEANCOURT COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION, FRANCE
There are many ways of expressing submission to the will of God 'Thy will be done', 'Not my will but thine O Lord', but this one seems particularly stark. The words come from Psalm 39 verse 10 and are closer to the version in the Book of Common Prayer than in the King James Bible: "I became dumb, and opened not my mouth: for it was Thy doing".
Leslie Peaston was the youngest of the four sons of George and Caroline Peaston of 66 Narbonne Avenue, Clapham Common. Caroline Peaston, by now a widow, chose the inscription. Whatever she might have felt like saying, however she might have felt like complaining, Mrs Peaston felt she couldn't because she knew that it was the will of God that her son Leslie had to die and that therefore she must submit herself to it.
Peaston served originally in the Royal Fusiliers, rising to the rank of corporal. He transferred to the Middlesex Regiment and was then commissioned into the Fusiliers in June 1917. He served with the 1st Battalion and was one of two officers killed in action at Vendelles on 21 March when the Germans subjected their lines to a heavy bombardment of HE and gas shells.
As with many of the casualties on this first day of the German offensive, Peaston's body was not initially buried. In September 1919, it was exhumed from map reference 62c R2 B5-6 and identified by the fact that his shirt had his name on it.