Malcolm Smith's Family History Archive

Biography of

Leonard  Barratt  FOLKER

[Ref. Q.14]

Ancestors Profile Army documents Index for FOLKER

Leonard Barratt Folker was the first child of Horace and Margaret Folker and was
born at Stroud House in Dene Road, Guildford, Surrey on 8 September 1897. His middle name of Barratt was his mother's maiden name.

When the census of 1901 was taken, the family were still residing at Stroud House. Leonard entered Mill Hill School in January 1909 and joined School House. He was there when the census of 1911 was taken but left shortly afterwards. He went on to the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst where he was commissioned on 16 June 1915 and subsequently joined the 3rd Lincolnshire Regiment as a 2nd Lieutenant.

Leonard served both in France and Belgium during the first world war commencing on 27 November 1915. He was promoted to temporary Lieutenant on 6 July 1916 which became permamnent on 2 October the same year. He was acting Captain between 28 October and 21 December 1917 but with pay and allowances as Lieutenant. At the same time, he was acting Adjutant. Whilst commanding a Company between 24 December 1917 and 1 February 1918 he continued the rank of acting Captain. From that same date he bacame acting Captain (additional) commanding a Company until 5 June 1919. The Army Book of 1919 gives his rank as acting Lieutenant.

Round about 1920, Leonard's father altered the family surname to Shepherd-Folker to respect the connection between the Folker and Shepherd families. Between 1921 and 1924, Leonard's regiment was stationed in Palace Barracks in Hollywood, Belfast, Northern Ireland in support of the Royal Ulster Constabulary. Leonard's home was actually at Westfield, Cheam Road, Sutton, Surrey as listed in the Electoral Register for 1929.

On 5 February 1924, Leonard married Setonette Scott Arnold at St.Saviour's church at Chelsea in London. The respective fathers witnessed the signing of the certificate. At that time, Leonard held the rank of Lieutenant and was stationed at Holywood Barracks in Belfast. That same year, he was photographed with the officers of the 1st battalion of his regiment. He gained the full rank of captain on 5 January 1926 but in February that was antedated to 1 October 1925. During this period, Leonard's home was at Westfield, Cheam Road, Sutton, Surrey as listed in the Electoral Register for 1929.

Leonard also served as an adjutant with the Bermuda Volunteer Rifle Corps between 8 October 1931 and 17 October 1935. The Bermuda Rifles were attached to the Lincolnshire Regiment, and in France during the First World War they suffered terrible casualties. During the Second World War the Bermuda Rifles served as a company in the Royal Lincolnshire Regiment in Britain and Europe. Leonard was stationed in India in 1937 according to a note in the address book of his uncle George Newton Folker. On 14 August 1933, Leonard and his wife Setonette arrived at Avonmouth from the West Indies, leaving again on 13 September. The ship's manifest listed their permanent residence as Bermuda. They sailed from Bermuda to Boston USA in 1934 then finally returned home via Chile on 28 October 1935, staying initially at Chandos Court Mansions in Westminster, London SW1.

Leonard was promoted from Lieutenant-Colonel to Colonel on 16 July 1938. He and his wife had returned to Westfield which had become number 58 Cheam Road in Sutton. As a point of interest, his cousin Arthur Folker, had later named his house in Devon as Westfield

On the King's birthday on 8 June 1944, Leonard was appointed to be an additional officer of the Military Division of the Most Excellent Order of the Brtish Empire (13342). His rank at that time was temporary Lieutenant Colonel.

Leonard held the rank of Major when he retired in 1948. The citation in the London Gazette read Major L B Shepherd-Folker OBE, having exceeded the age limit for retirement is paced on retirement pay, 3 December 1948, and is granted the honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

They were living at 2a Vicars Court in Lincoln when his wife Setonette passed away on 26 February 1960. He wrote his Will a month later and subsequently added two codicils. He passed away on 24 June 1971 at the County Hospital. A point of interest is the disposal of a portrait of his great grandfather, Samuel Shepherd Folker. It had been in the possession of Leonard but was probably disposed of by his trustee according to instructions in his Will. Nothing is known of it's location until it was purchased by a dealer in Florida in 2016.


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