CFHS code : ML50

Parish : St Mary the Less

Inscription : In Loving Memory of GLADYS MARGUERITE the dearly loved wife of Lieut JAMES EDGAR LEACH VC d April 2 1916 in her 19th year ALBERT DIGBY b February 27th 1892 d March 1st 1893 REBECCA DIGBY mother of the above b December 8th 1857 d June 13th 1918 WILLIAM DIGBY b June 7th 1858 d May 20th 1944

Monument : Headstone

Above information from Cambridge Family History Society Survey

Lat Lon : 52.202823, 0.13799382 – click here for location

Digby and Leach grave
Digby and Leach headstone



Gladys Marguerite Leach (née Digby) (1896 – 2 April  1916)

Gladys was the youngest daughter of  Rebecca and William Digby and married Lieutenant James Edgar Leach (1892-1958) at St. Botolph’s Church on 23 December 1915.  James was home on leave from the front, and was Commandant of the 1st Army School of Signalling when they married.  As a second Lieutenant he had been awarded a Victoria Cross in October 1914  when along with another soldier named Hogan and ten volunteers he had ‘recaptured a trench they previously held, surprising the Germans with a sudden bayonet charge….they re-took the entire trench, killing eight of the enemy and taking 16 prisoners’.

Gladys died a few months after the marriage, and James married for a second time in 1917 to Josephine Pansy Butt (1895-1961)

Albert Digby (27 February 1892 – 1 March 1893)

Albert was the youngest son of Rebecca and William Digby and died at the Cottages at Queen’s College just after his first birthday.

Rebecca Digby (née Sallis)  (8 December 1857 – 13 June 1918)

Rebecca was born in Little Downham, three miles north of Ely and was the daughter of John and Sarah Sallis.  John worked as a farm bailiff in Little Downham (1861), but by 1871 the family were living at Brookland Farm, Shaftesbury Road in Cambridge.  She married William Digby in 1880 and the couple had at least nine children: William Henry (1882-1936), Reginald Sallis (1882-1951), Frank Leonard (1884-1955), Ethel Elvina Maud (1886-1955), Alfred Edward Victor (1887-1960), George Randolph (1889-1977), Albert, Grace Dorothy (1893-) and Gladys Marguerite.

William worked as a college servant at Queen’s College and the family lived at one of the Cottages at the College.  Rebecca died aged 60 years old.

William Digby (7 June 1858 – 20 May 1944)

William was born in Great Leighs, Essex and baptised at St. Mary the Virgin Church in Great Leighs on 15 July 1860.  He was the son of agricultural labourer James Digby and his wife Charlotte (née Poulter).   By 1939 William had retired and was living with his daughter Ethel and her husband Percy Gunns in Hardwick.  He died at Addenbrookes Hospital aged 85 years old.



Newspaper archives

by Claire Martinsen

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Albert Digby; Rebecca Digby; William Digby; Gladys Marguerite Leach