Leonard Boxall, Grenadier Guards veteran, wears ceremonial uniform for 100th birthday

Discussion in 'The Brigade of Guards' started by dbf, May 20, 2019.

  1. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Veteran gets to wear bearskin for birthday

    During Leonard Boxall's 12 years of service he only got to wear the khaki uniform

    A World War Two veteran has achieved his lifetime wish to wear the red ceremonial uniform of his regiment as he approaches his 100th birthday.

    Leonard Boxall, 99, of Norfolk, joined the Grenadier Guards in 1939 because he liked the red jacket and bearskin hat.

    But during his 12 years of service he only wore the khaki uniform, as first reported in the Eastern Daily Press.

    His family found out about his wish to wear the red version and the regimental association helped provide one.

    Leonard Boxall with his red jacket and bearskin hat, surrounded by some of his family at the Linden Court care home in Watton, Norfolk

    Mr Boxall's daughter Sue Baldock said her father was delighted to wear the uniform at his care home in Watton.

    "He was quite emotional. He was talking around [the home] and he was so proud," she said.

    "When he heard [about the uniform] he was really excited. He was looking forward to it. He could not believe it."

    Mr Boxall, originally from Ifield in West Sussex, served as guard at Windsor Castle while the present Queen and her sister was in residence. Pictured in uniform in 1943, aged 24.

    Provision of the uniform and distinctive ceremonial bearskin hat were arranged by Terry McLenahan and Steve Hayes of the Regimental Association of the Granadier Guards.

    Joining up just before the outbreak of war, Mr Boxall was first stationed at barracks near Hyde Park, London.

    Mr Boxall, originally from Ifield in West Sussex, also served as guard at Windsor Castle while the present Queen and her sister Princess Margaret were in residence.

    His war service included time in France, Algeria and Italy, where he was captured at Anzio and spent the last 18 months of the conflict as a prisoner of war.

    He moved to Linden Court in Watton after the death of his wife Nora, aged 98, in October 2018. They were married for 77 years.

    Mr Boxall turns 100 on Friday and will have a party at the home and then a family gathering on Saturday at Dereham Church Hall.


    Former soldier achieves lifetime wish of wearing ceremonial uniform ahead of 100th birthday

    When he first enlisted, Len worked at Windsor Castle, where he remembers the Queen as a young girl. He served in France, Italy and Africa.

    When the war started, he was sent to the front line and was captured in Italy two years before the war ended, spending the remainder of the conflict in a German Prisoner of War camp.

    Len, who is originally from Ifield in West Sussex but moved to Norfolk to be near his daughter who lives in East Tuddenham, says that it was not all bad; he remembers learning to dance and said that he could not wait to get home and dance with his sweetheart Nora Abbott who eventually became his wife. They were married for 77 years, before she passed away in 2018.

    While in Africa, Len’s unit was spotted by a German patrol and dug into shallow foxholes – a shell exploded and shrapnel went through his helmet into the side of his head. He remembers having a near death experience. He also remembers one time he was marching and happened to be the one to carry the radio battery. They were fired at and he heard a ricochet very close by. Later on when inspecting his kit he realised that the battery had been hit – another near miss.


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    Drew5233, Owen, Recce_Mitch and 5 others like this.
  2. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Via Ancestry:
    Name: L E Boxall
    Rank: Lance Serjeant
    Army Number: 2616409
    Regiment: Grenadier Guards
    POW Number: 141969
    Camp Type: Stalag
    Camp Number: XI-A
    Camp Location: Altengrabow, Saxony-Anhalt
    Recce_Mitch and CL1 like this.
  3. harkness

    harkness Well-Known Member



  4. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member

    He would have been captured on the night of 7-8 Feb 44 when all four Rifle Companies of 5 GREN GDS were overrun by Germans in the Carroceto area whilst trying to reach the Anzio-Albano road and the same night that Philip Sidney won his Victoria Cross.

    Recce_Mitch and dbf like this.

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