Reginald LEAK
Rank: 2nd Lieutenant
Unit: 1/6th Battalion LANCASHIRE FUSILIERS
Date of Death: 26 August 1915
Age: 20
Cemetery: Helles Memorial, Turkey

Lieutenant Leak was known to everyone as Rex. He was the son of Frederick Osborne Simeon Leak and Lucy Elizabeth Leak who lived at Lyme Lea, Cheadle Hulme. After the war, their address was given as 6 John Dalton Street, Manchester. This was the business address for Leak & Pratt, Frederick's firm of solicitors.

Rex had been born on 7 June 1895 in Chorlton-cum-Hardy. The family was at "Glendeane", Darley Avenue. When the census was taken in 1901, the family was still living there. The census form shows Rex , then 5, had two sisters - 7 year old Doris and Lucie, 3. Mr Leak's practice was obviously very successful as the family was able to emply three live-in servants - a cook, housemaid and nurse.

Later, he was educated at Marlborough College and had been a member of the school's Officer Training Corps. He had been working as an articled clerk at his father's firm and had passed his "intermediate" examination to become a solicitor.

On 25 September 1914, he enlisted as a private in the 2/6th Battalion, Manchester Regiment, serving in "A" Company. His papers show him to have been 5 foot 9 inches tall. As with many "middle class" recruits, he was selected to become an officer in the December. He was commissioned into the Lancashire Fusiliers on 2 March 1915 The Battalion left for Gallipoli on 3 July 1915.

On 7 August, Reginald and his Battalion were in front line trenches on the Helles peninsula. A landing of fresh troops was scheduled to be made a few miles north at Suvla Bay. The Fusiliers were to be part of an attack which was intended to act as a diversion for the landing. It would become known as the Battle of the Vineyard. The four Battalions of Lancashire Fusiliers which made up 125th Brigade held a frontage of only 400 yards of front line. This is because losses of the previous weeks had much reduced their numbers. Their objectives were a section of the Turkish front line opposite and their main support trench behind that.

At 8.10am, the British opened an intense artillery bombardment of the Turkish front line, supported by machine gun fire. At 9.40, the British attacked, quickly capturing the first objective. Parties of Rex's Battalion pressed on to the support trench but they were forced to fall back under intense fire. About midday, the Turks counter-attacked, driving the Fusiliers out of many of the gains along their sector. All four Battalions made efforts to recover their losses and were partly successful, particularly in the area known as the Vineyard. Late in the afternoon, the Turkish Army again counter-attacked, forcing a withdrawal by the 1/5th and 1/8th Battalions, on the right of the sector. On the left, the 1/6th and 1/7th were both able to hold their positions as they had already consolidated the captured trench and prepared it for defence.

60 soldiers of the 1/6th Battalion had been killed during the day. The remainder would stay in these positions until relieved two days later, but, sometime during this first day, Rex was shot in the head. He was evacuated from the front line and brought down to the beach head, where he was treated in what seemed to be a successful operation. He was on his way back to Britain on the hospital ship Dongola, when he relapsed and died. He was buried at sea.

(Original research for the Cheadle & Gatley War Memorials website)

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