Lionel Streatfield Woodgate was born on 11 June 1888 in Rochester, on Star Hill the home of his parents, Ernest and Edith. Ernest Woodgate worked as a solicitor. Edith was a ‘Rochester lady’, according to the Dover Express, a member of the Streatfeild family of Chiddingstone, near Tunbridge Wells. Ernest’s family were from the same area, being the Woodgates of Penshurst. However, both Edith and Ernest were born in London, and they got married at St Matthew’s, Bayswater on 8 February 1877.
Ernest followed his father, William Woodgate, into the legal profession. William [Senior] was listed on the 1851 Census as being a solicitor, a farmer of 70 acres and an employer of 6 labourers. Ten years earlier, however, William Senior and his family (pre-Ernest) had been living in St Pancras. Ernest died in 1896 of heart disease on a visit to Littlehampton with Edith and the family, when he was aged 51. At that point, he was serving as the Mayor of Rochester.
Ernest was the cousin of Major-General Sir Edward Prevost Woodgate, who had been in command of the King’s Own Royal Lancaster depot, before dying at Spion Kop during the South African Wars. William Francis Woodgate and Anna Allnutt were the parents of William Senior and Henry Arthur Woodgate, who was Sir Edward’s father. The family appear to have been living at Tonbridge Castle (presumably in the then new mansion attached to it) around 1800. Henry Arthur was the rector of Belbroughton Holy Trinity Church in Worcestershire. Lionel appears to have been a distant relative of both Lucy Deane Streatfeild (by marriage), one of the first female factory inspectors, and Noel Streatfeild, the author.
In 1881, the Woodgates were living at 13 Star Hill with Catherine Streatfeild, Edith’s mother. 13 Star Hill has since been demolished, and was roughly where the bus stop on the Star Inn side of Star Hill is (2016). By 1891, however, the Woodgates were living in Dover, where Ernest was working as a solicitor and a JP. Lionel’s eldest brother, William Ernest Streatfeild, was 13, Hamilton was 10, Violet was 5 and Lionel was 2.
Lionel was educated at Bradfield College, near Reading, which had a further Rochester connection through the actor Dame Sybil Thorndike being a fan of the Greek Theatre offered by the school in a chalk pit in the nearby village. Lionel is listed on the 1901 Census as being a boarding pupil at Bradfield. By 1901, the rest of the Woodgates were living again at 18 and 20 Star Hill. Hamilton, then aged 20, was an articled clerk about to follow his father into the law. William Ernest had died the previous year, aged 23, whilst serving as a Lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion of the King’s Own (Royal Lancaster), having been injured at Vryheid on 11th December 1900. William Ernest had joined the Regiment in 1897, and was promoted to Lieutenant in 1899.
After Bradfield, Lionel went to Sandhurst Military College, following in the footsteps of William Ernest and Sir Edward on his way to join their Regiment. Lionel’s first appointment was on 8 February 1908 as 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Lancaster Regiment (the King’s Own). In the 1911 Census, he was still in this role, but was in India, serving at the Havelock Barracks in Dilkusha, Lucknow. His promotion to Lieutenant would follow on 7 October that year.
At the outbreak of the war, Lionel served as a Lieutenant with the 1st Battalion (4th Foot) in the King’s Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment), and was with the British Expeditionary Force in France and Flanders. His service was courageous, but ultimately short-lived. The Kent and Sussex Courier wrote about how Lionel was in charge of the machine gun section during the extremely heavy fighting at Le Cateau, and of the high regard with which he was held by his fellow soldiers.
Lionel died on 8 September 1914, at the age of 26, and is buried in the Montrueil-aux-Lions British Cemetery in Aisne, France. Lionel’s page on Every Man Remembered can be found here. Lionel is also remembered with his family on the family memorial in St Margaret’s Churchyard, Rochester.
Ancestry.com. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966, 1973-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
Original data: Principal Probate Registry. Calendar of the Grants of Probate and Letters of Administration made in the Probate Registries of the High Court of Justice in England. London, England © Crown copyright.
Ancestry.com. British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008.
Original data: Army Medal Office. WWI Medal Index Cards. In the care of The Western Front Association website.
Find my Past
1901 Census RG 13/1141
De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour, 1914-1918.
Gradation List of Officers, p.1303a, Ancestry.com. UK, British Army Lists, 1882-1962 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.
Original data: The Official Army List. The National Archives of the UK, Kew, Surrey, England.
British Newspaper Archive
Derby Daily Telegraph, Saturday 5 September 1896, p.
Dover Express, Friday 18 September 1914, p.
‘The death of Lieutenant Woodgate’, Kent and Sussex Courier, Friday 25 September 1914, p.2
Kent and Sussex Courier, Friday 25 September 1914, p.5
Manchester Evening News, Friday 18 September 1914, p.3
E.I. Carlyle, rev James Faulkner, ‘Woodgate, Sir Edward Robert Prevost (1845-1900)’, in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, eee ed. H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison (Oxford: OUP, 2004); online ed., ed. David Cannadine, 2004, http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/29922 (accessed November 29, 2016).
Woodgate family tree: https://www.geni.com/people/Henry-Woodgate/6000000005438500912
1851 Census, Class: HO107; Piece: 1492; Folio: 296; Page: 41; GSU roll: 87821
Ancestry.com. 1851 England Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005.
Hamilton S. Woodgate
1901 Census, Class: RG13; Piece: 724; Folio: 80; Page: 12
Ancestry.com. 1901 England Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005.
William Ernest Streatfeild Woodgate
Find my Past: Anglo-Boer War records 1899-1902
British Newspaper Archive: ‘Deaths from Wounds and Disease’, Reading Mercury, Sat 22 December 1900, p.6