RIFLEMAN LIONEL SIDNEY GEORGE BUCKMAN
LONDON REGIMENT (CITY OF LONDON RIFLES)
7TH APRIL 1918 AGE 24
BURIED: ABBEVILLE COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION, FRANCE
'Empty chair' is the gentle euphemism for the dead that was in use all over England during the war years and after, both in sentimental poetry and in newspaper columns:
There's a sadness in the landscape,
There's a stillness in the air,
Save the sound of someone weeping near at hand;
There's many an empty chair
For the Reaper - Death - is stalking through the land.
[From The Reaper by Percy A Gamble October 1918]
Lionel Buckman was his mother's only child. The 1901 census shows them to have been living alone in Marylebone where Mrs Buckman worked as a dressmaker. She was still a dressmaker in 1911 and seventeen-year-old Lionel was working as an errand boy for a builder.
Buckman didn't go out to France until January 1917. From his entry in Service Medal and Award Rolls, it would appear that he was wounded in February 1917. He was back in action in April that year and served until he died of wounds in hospital in Abbeville on 7 April 1918.
His mother, obviously, chose his inscription. By this time she was living in Burgh, Suffolk, a few miles from where she'd been born. She still had "his empty chair".