Born in 1895, the son of Joseph and Bracegirdle, Leonard lived all his life in Heyhead (now almost absorbed into Manchester Airport) and, no doubt, worked in the family market garden business.
His service number suggests that he enlisted towards the end of 1914 or in early 1915 and will have gone on active service to Gallipoli as part of a draft of replacements for casualties in the early weeks of the campaign, most notable the attack on 4 June.
There is a doubt about the date of his death. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission records it as 6 August, yet the post-War Army records show it as the day after, as does the local press. The Battalion’s War Diary for this period is now missing from its file at the National Archives so it is no longer possible to check the detail of the two days to see if there is any list of casualties.
On 1 August, the Battalion started a tour of duty in the trenches, relieving the 1/5th Battalion. In turn, they came back on the 4th and Leonard and his mates went back in to reserve. On the 6th reinforcements were sent forward to assist the 1/5th Battalion in consolidating a captured trench. Later in the day, “A” and “D” Companies took part in an attack on a section of the Turkish trenches, supporting the Worcester Regiment. The Battalion History recounts that “A” Company “went over the top like one man.”D” which was to move to the right of “A” then lined up along the fire step and followed. Our men passed into a tornado of fire”. It cannot be discounted that this is when Leonard was killed.
However, the next day saw the Battalion take part in a major attack which became known officially as the Battle of the Vineyard. The 1/6th Battalion also took part in the attack and an account of their experiences can be read by clicking here. The conditions were very similar for the 1/7th Battalion. Leonard’s body was never found and identified. Some months later, the Cheshire Daily Echo published an “In Memoriam” notice for Leonard who was “Sadly missed by Amy, 28 Campbell Street, Reddish.” Her identity is unknown and it was, probably, she who arranged for his name to be inscribed on the Stockport War Memorial. He is also remembered on the Heyhead Memorial and the one inside St Wilfrid’s Church, in Northenden.