Leonard got married in the autumn of 1914 to a woman called McBurney. This was probably around the time that he joined the army, enlisting in Manchester. In 1916, she had a son who they also called Leonard. Young Leonard seems to have died as a young baby
It's not known what connection they had with Gatley but, assuming they lived here, Leonard would have caught the tram that ran from the village to Stockport and on to Reddish where he worked as a carrier for a Mr Hunt.
At the beginning of September 1917, Leonard's unit was in reserve at Bonningues in northern France. The Battalion War Diary notes that, on the 1st , the finals of the Inter-Company Football competition were played, with the Headquarters team beating "C" Company by 3 goals to nil. Subsequent days were spent in training for the forthcoming attack. This comparatively quiet time came to an end on the 14th, when the battalion moved to an area north of Ypres.
On the 19th, they moved forward, taking over a section of the front line. The Battle of Passchendaele had been going on since 31 July and progress had been slow and at great cost. The front line at this point was just a collection of shell holes. During the night, the Battalion took up its final assault position. At 5.40am, the whistles blew and the men clambered out of the holes and started to advance through deep mud. In spite of stubborn opposition, the leading troops reached their first objective. After a slight pause to re-group, they continued to advance, but sustained heavy casualties from enemy fire from one side. A battalion of the North Lancashire Regiment then came up to support them and leap-frogged the Lancasters to capture more ground. Both battalions then stopped at a captured German trench known as Schuler Galleries and prepared for a counter attack. Losses amongst both Battalions meant that the most senior officer was only a captain. Capt. Proctor assumed command and they held this line all day, in spite on an intense enemy bombardment and fire from both flanks..
The Battalion would continue to be in the firing line for another three days but, by this time Leonard had already been killed along with 57 of his comrades, including Harry Pownall. It is not known if he ever saw young Leonard.
(NB: Original research by John Hartley for the Cheadle & Gatley War Memorials website)