Known as ‘Len’ and born in Chideock, Dorset Robert was the son of the late Robert Grinter (1852-1911) and Harriett Grinter (nee Farrell)(1851-1895). He was one of six boys and four girls – William George Grinter,Charles Joseph Grinter, James Grinter, George Grinter, John Sansom Grinter,Mary Elizabeth Grinter, Jane Grinter, Mary Jane Grinter and Kate Grinter. As a result of the death of his mother so early in his life, he was adopted by his Aunt Elizabeth and Uncle John Sansom a Naval Pensioner of Chideock. His sweetheart was a young lady named “Min” Hawker. Before enlisting in the 5th Dorsets at Bridport shortly after the outbreak of war, he had been employed by Mr.E.A. Hansford, Butcher, of East Street,Bridport, Dorset.
During the assault on Turkish trenches between Aire Kayak and Susak Kuyu, Suvla on the Aegean coast of Gallipoli peninsula in the Ottoman Empire on August 21st, 1915, he was mortally wounded and evacuated toEngland.
Robert arrived at Netley Hospital, Southampton, Hants on 9th September 1915, dying of his wounds the following day (september 10th) aged 20 years. Mr & Mrs Sansom received the news of their adopted son’s death on the evening of Friday 10th September. His remains were conveyed to Bridport by rail on Monday September 12th. He was laid to rest at St.Giles Church, Chideock on the afternoon of Thursday 16th September. The whole village came out to mourn his passing at this military funeral, flags flew at half mast and curtains and blinds were drawn as a token of respect. His body was ‘laid to rest’ on the North West side of St.Giles Churchyard where his headstone can be seen. At later dates the deaths of his Uncle John and Aunt Elizabeth were commemorated on the same headstone.
EXTRACT FROM THE HEADSTONE OF PRIVATE ROBERT LEONARD GRINTER
HE DIED FIGHTING FOR KING AND COUNTRY
A light from our household has gone
A voice we loved is still’d
A place is vacant in our home
which never can be filled
SECOND EDITION OF THE
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 17,
WOUNDED – Official intimation has been received by Mr. & Mrs. Samways, of this village, that their son Stepehn, a private in the 5th Dorset Regt., has been wounded in action in the Gallipoli peninsula. Private Samways worked with Private Grinter(whose death from wounds we record this week) for Mr. E A Hansford, butcher,Bridport; they joined the 5th Dorsets together and went out to the Dandanelles, and it was in the same action and on the same day that they were wounded.
MILITARY FUNERAL FOR
The second of Chideock’s soldiers to lay down his life for his country is Pte. Robert Leonard Grinter, of the 5th Dorset Regiment who died on Friday at Netley Hospital, Southampton, from wounds received in action at the Dardanelles, on August 21st. Private Grinter, who before the war residedwith Mr. & Mrs. J. Sansom, of this village, joined the 5th Dorsets soon after the outbreak of hostilities and accompanied his regiment to the Gallipoli Peninsula. Mr. and Mrs. Samson had previously been intimated of his having been wounded and that he was being conveyed to England. Hopes were entertained that his wounds were not of a serious nature, but to the grief of his many friends the sad news of his death was received on Friday evening the day following his admission to hospital. His age was 20. Of a bright and cheery nature, he was well known and liked by many friends in the village, as well as in Bridport, where for some time he worked for Mr. E.A. Hansford,butcher of East Street.The body was conveyed by rail to Bridport on Monday and was taken to Chideock,where the funeral took place with military honours yesterday (Thursday afternoon).
The whole village was in mourning for the loss it has sustained, and the funeral ceremony was deeply impressive, every portion being carried out with the utmost reverence. Flags flew at half mast over the church and at various houses, while blinds were drawn throughout the village as a last token of respect.
The cortege left Mr. & Mrs Sansom’s residence shortlybefore three o’clock, and as the solemn and imposing procession passed, slowly through the village there were manifestations of sincere respect and sorrow on every side. The procession was formed in the following order: A detachment of the 9th Hants (cyclists), who formed the firing party, walking with slow step and reversed arms. The detachment was in charge of Col-Sergt Padwick, the firing party being in command of Sergeant Loveridge. Then followed the band of the Dorset Battery, R.F.A., under the Bandmaster J.J.Shephard playing the mournful strains of the ‘Dead March’ in Saul . The drum and the side drum were draped in black. The coffin followed. Drawn on a wheeled bier, and borne by six members of the 9th Hants. The coffin was covered with the Union Jack, on which were laid the deceased’s hat, belt and bayonet. The breastplate on the lid bore the inscription:-
Died September 10,
The family mourners walked immediately behind. The principal of these being: Mr. & Mrs. Sansom, Miss Hawker (sweetheart), Messrs. C.J & E Grinter (brothers), Miss K. Grinter (sister) Mrs. Cleall. Mrs. Eveleigh and Mrs. J. Grinter (aunts), Messrs C. Grinter, W. Grinter, H. Denner, J. Cleal and J. Farwell (uncles), Mrs. J. Grinter (sister-in-law), Mrs. Davis, Mrs. W. Griner, Miss. P.Cleall, Mr. & Mrs. W. Roper, Mrs. Bartlett, Mr. W. Grinter, Mrs. Ward, Mr. J. Gerrard, Miss. M. Grinter and Mrs.Jerrard (cousins), Mr. & Mrs Clark (friends), and a number of others toonumerous to mention.
Following these walked Mr. E. A Hansford (deceased’s late employer), and a number of his late fellow workmen, and then came a large number of men representing all phases of life in the village and neighbourhood, including ex Chief Officer of Coastguards T. Meyers, wearing his uniform. It would be impossible to name these or the hundreds of other people who attended, but practically the whole village were present, as well as a number from Bridport and other places in the locality, to pay their last tribute to him who had given up his life for the safety of the hearths and homes of England. P.C. Drake was on duty in the village. When the procession reached the outside of the church and the firing party lined the road and rested on their reversed arms with heads bowed as the coffin and mourners passed into the churchyard. Here the cortege was met by the vicar, (Rev. C.Urquart), the Rev Canon W Jacob (formerly Vicar of Lyme Regis, and now of Warminster), Rev. E.H.H. Lee (Vicar of Whitchurch Canonicorum), Captain Molineux and Mr. Edwin Legg (church wardens), carrying their official staves, and the full surpliced choir, who headed the procession into the church, where the body was rested during the first part of the impressive burial service. This was conducted by the vicar and Canon Jacob read the lesson from I Cor., xv20. Psalm 39 was chanted, ‘Now the labourer’s task is o’er’ sung and as the body was being taken out of the church for interment, Miss. Legg who presided at the organ played “O rest in the Lord”. There was not nearly enough room in the church for all who attended the obsequies, and hundreds of people attended around the grave as the body was laid in its last resting place in a peacefully secluded spot beneath the noble old tower – a contrast from the dreadful turmoil of war in which the deceased soldier had so recently been engaged. The grave had been lined with flowers and ferns by Miss. Forsey and Mrs. Jim Tuck, and was surrounded by a mass of beautiful flowers conveyed to the churchyard in carriages and which had been sent from relatives and friends as tangible expressions of sorrow and sympathy. The vicar read the committal prayers, and after the Grace the hymn “Rock of Ages” was sung, Then came the most impressive part of the service. The firing party which had been drawn up around the grave, fixed their bayonets, and at the word of command fired three volleys, and as the ribbons of smoke trailed heavenwards from the rifles the band played a few bars of the Dead March. Last of all came the thrilling and inspiring notes of the Last Post, sounded by Bugler Thorpe, of the 9th
Hants, and after another brief silence, the soldiers were marched off, and the vast crowds had a last look at the coffin before slowly dispersing, the schoolchildren walking past the grave and dropping in bunches of flowers upon the body. The band played a lively air as they marched away from the graveyard. After the ceremony the ringers rang a muffled peal on the bells, followed by a full peal.
Three beautiful floral tokens were placed on the coffin, a harp with a broken string bearing the inscription ‘In ever loving memory of our dear adopted son Leonard, from his heart broken Aunt and Uncle, J & E Sansom:
“In health and
strength he left his home,
Not thinking death
It pleased the Lord
to take him home,
And at his side
“He sacrificed his
life for King and Country”
A pierced heart bore the inscription “to my darling Len from his loving and dear sweetheart Min”, and the other design was a golden crown, which bore the inscription “To my dear Leonard from little Dorothy”. A massive and handsome wreath, subscribed to by the parishioners was also sent, a printed card attached bearing the words “In Loving Memory and with Deepest Sympathy from the Parishioners of Chideock – “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends”. The teachers and children of the Council School sent a wreath “In affectionate Remembrance” and another bore the inscription “In sorrowing memory of a good lad from the employees and employer with whom he worked”. Other wreaths, crosses and bunches were sent from the following: A.E. and W.G. Grinter and family; Jim and Bessie (brother and sister); Kate and Will (sister and brother); Uncles and Aunties Wimbledon; Cousins May, Jack, Edward and Charl, Wimbledon; Uncle John and Aunt Ellen and family; Aunt Mary, Uncle John and cousins, Symondsbury; Zelia and Seara; Minnie and Flor, Seahill; Mr & Mrs Young, Seahill; Maud and George, Bridport; Aunt and Uncle H J Denner; Aunt and Uncle J and A Cleall and cousins George and Charlie; Harold, Vera and Uncle Jim Farwell; Mr. & Mrs R.A. Nash, Bridport; Cousins Vash and
John, Bradpole; Cousins Vene and Charl, Bridport; Cousins Bess, Will and Poll, Ted and Beat; Cousins Elizie and Fred; Cousins Martha & Chas, Davie and family; Mrs. E A Hansford, Bridport; Margaret and Sydney Hansford, Bridport; Mrs. Greenhow; Rev and Mrs C F Urquhart; Mr & Mrs Weld, The Manor; Mr. & Mrs Jerrard, Nell and Elsie; Mr & Mrs G R Pitfield; Olive Jefford, Rose Briar; Mrs J Courtney and children; Mr & Mrs J C Bucknall and family; Mrs Strawbridge and family; Mr & Mrs J Mason; All at The Castle, Chideock; E Russell; Mrs F M Bray and Percy and Mrs Gibbon; Mr & Mrs Tom Hansford and
family; Mrs Bindloss and daughters; Mrs. Jacob Tuck and family; Mrs J Tuck and E. Forsey; A and B Fone; Friends at Sunny Bank; Teachers and children of Melplash School; Capt.G.W.Molineux; Mr & Mrs Jellis and family; Mrs Charles Hussey and family; W and K Foss; Rev and Mrs. Wm Roper; J. Barnes and family, Wormstall; Mrs W. Jerrard and family, Bridport; Mrs. Macdonald and Jake Butcher, India; Mr & Mrs Milward, Seatown; Joseph Bartlett, Wife and Alfred; Mrs Clark; Dan; Maud Macdonald and the rest of the children; Mr & Mrs W Neale and Ethel; Nurse Liddle, Bridport; A Jarrard and L Winlock; Mrs
Susan Chedd and Mabel Watts; Mr & Mrs Walter Oxenbury; All at May Cottage, West Road; J Jerrard and Flo; Mr & Mrs R Manning; W and E Farwell and
family; Helen T Spurle; Mr & Mrs Foster, Jnr; Mr & Mrs Scadden, Turnpike; Mrs McKeon and family; Mrs Reginald Jones Pocock; W & A Samways and family; Mr & Mrs Hawker and Stan, Sunny Bank; L Morris and A Holden; E Spencer and family; and a friend. Mr. J. Hussey was the undertaker.
Mr and Mrs Sansom and Miss. Hawker desire, through the columns of The Bridport News, to thank their numerous friends for sympathy extended to
them in their sorrow and also for flowers sent.