109248 Captain Leslie Bernard Bumstead MC was born Ipswich, England, on July 5th, 1893, one of ten chldren born to Charles and Emma (nee Scopes) Bumstead. The family name changed through time and differed on numerous documents, appearing as either Bumstead or Bumpstead. The earliest record for Leslie was the 1894 Birth Index, which lists him as Bumpstead, whilst his marriage certificate lists him as Bumstead. The earliest record for his father, Charles, the Birth Index for 1863 lists him as Bumstead.

Following the lead of his brother, 109247 RSM Reginald Bumpstead, Leslie, six years younger than Reginald, emigrated to Canada in 1912. It appears he settled in Grey County for a time, probably staying with relatives. By the time hostilities broke out Leslie was living in Toronto, working as a Commercial Traveller and was serving as a Sergeant in the 9th Mississauga Horse, a unit his brother, Reginald, also served in. Both men were destined to serve in the 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles.

Twenty-one year old Leslie attested in to the 4th C.M.R., as one of the originals, in Toronto, on November 22nd, 1914. He was initially assigned service number 4091, though this was later changed to 109248. The unit's initial training was conducted at Toronto's Exhibition grounds. In the spring, they moved to Camp Valcartier, before sailing for England on the Hesperian in July of 1915. They underwent a couple of months of training in England and on October 24th, 1915, the unit was finally sent to France. That same day Leslie was confirmed as a Sergeant. By May of 1916, Leslie was a temporary Lieutenant.

On June 2nd, 1916, during the Battle of Mount Sorrel, a battle that saw his brother, 109247 R.S.M. Reginald Bumpstead (name as listed on his Service Record), taken prisoner, Leslie received multiple shrapnel wounds to his body, including his left arm and side, right leg and hand, chest and face. Most of these injuries healed with the exception of his ear and right middle finger, the latter of which had to amputated. Medically evacuated on June 5th for treatment and recuperation, he was able to return to the frontlines, being attached to the 3rd Division Trench Mortar Battery in January of 1917.

Granted leave in July, Leslie returned to England and married Minnie Elizabeth Spencer in Staines, Middlesex (west of central London). Returning to the Trench Mortar Battery, he served with them until the end of August, when he returned to duty with the 4th C.M.R.

Promoted to Captain in September, Leslie served with the unit through the winter, taking part in an aborted raid on Humbug Trench, in January 1918. Captain Bumstead then helped lead a raiding party of sixty men, in another raid on April 22nd. This one was a complete success and earned both Officers involved a Military Cross [the other Officer being Lt. Geoffrey Heighington].

Leslie's citation reads:

"For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. This officer planned and carried out a raid for the purpose of securing identifications. Personally leading one of the sections he killed many of the enemy, and brought back two prisoners and a machine gun. His skill and handling of the men were largely responsible for the success of the undertaking."

August 9th, 1918, during the Battle of Amiens "C" Company, under his command, pressed the attack on the left of the unit's axis of advance. Here he was wounded a second time, by a rifle bullet. Luckily for him it was only a flesh wound and he carried on leading his men in their attack. His leadership that day resulted in him being awarded a bar to his Military Cross.

The citation reads:

"For gallantry and devotion to duty during action. When at the start this officer received a gunshot wound in the back, he carried on, directing the advance of his company, a distance of over 3 kilometres. Not till the objective was reached and consolidated, and the wounded cared for, did he consent to be evacuated himself. He set a splendid example."

This wound also resulted in the eventual medical evacuation to England. Leslie returned to the unit just days before the Armistice was signed. He would probably have participated in the Victory Parade in Mons, before taking leave to England in February, 1919, when he was attached to the 1st C.O.R.D. Witley.

Captain Leslie Bernard Bumstead MC, was struck off strength of the C.E.F. on March 17th, 1919, taking his discharge in England.

Biography details credit: George Auer with additional details supplied by 4cmr.com

Image credit: Imperial War Museum.

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