The Welland Canal Force was a Canadian home service unit established to defend vital points along the canal, the hydro-electric facilities at Niagara and the various international bridges across the river between Canada and the USA. On 24 July, Leonard fell into the waters and drowned.
He had been born in Styal, Cheshire, from where his mother, Mary, originated. His father, Thomas, was a Yorkshireman by birth and worked as a general labourer. Leonard was their second child. His older sister, Agnes, was two years older. The family moved to the Stockport area in about 1889, settling in Bredbury. When the national Census was taken in 1901, Leonard was 14 and working as a grocer’s errand boy. He now had three younger siblings, born in the Stockport area – Ernest (9), Frances (4) and Joseph (11).
At some point, Leonard emigrated to Canada. Nothing is known of his time there, except that he got married to a woman named Beatrice. It’s probable that Leonard was not deemed fit enough for overseas service in the trenches so was assigned to the Canal Force.
At the time, there were suspicions that there may have been "foul play". Leonard was a strong swimmer and his rifle was found on the canal bank. However, when his body was recovered some distance away at Port Robinson, it had decomposed making it impossible to determine if he had been attacked. The inquest was adjourned on several occasions whilst enquiries continued and suspicion fell on two other members of the Canal Force who were described as "known troublemakers". However, there was no evidence. One alleged "troublemaker", in fact, had a cast iron alibi in that he was Toronto enlisting into the army.
After the War, Beatrice remarried – to a Mr Leigh and, in the early 1920s, was living at 72 St Clair Avenue, Niagara Falls. It was, no doubt, she who arranged for her late husband’s name to be inscribed on the War Memorial overlooking Niagara Falls. Also in the 1920s, Thomas Bellamy was living at 9 Wood Cottages, Woodley. Mary Bellamy had died by that time.