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 Pte William Leach 2/21st Regiment

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Tim Needham

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PostSubject: Pte William Leach 2/21st Regiment   Pte William Leach 2/21st Regiment EmptySun Dec 30, 2018 10:47 pm

Undated newspaper report of the death of 2582 Private William Leach in Ayr, Scotland:

ZULU WAR VETERAN
DEATH OF OCTOGENARIAN FUSILIER

The "Last Post" was on Saturday sounded over the remains of Mr. William Leach, an old member of the Royal Scots Fusiliers and a veteran of the Zulu War, who died on Wednesday of last week at his residence, 13 M'Call's Avenue, Ayr, after only a day's illness.

Mr. Leach was a bluff and hearty Englishman, who was esteemed by a wide circle. A native of Berkshire, he enlisted in the Royal North British Fusiliers (the 21st) at Oxford on February 17, 1871, at the age of 18 years and was discharged in 1889 at Ayr after between 18 and 19 years service with the regiment with a "very good" mark on his conduct sheet.

Mr. Leach took part in the Zulu War, the medal for which he held and also the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal. He had many interesting stories to relate of the Zulu campaign in which he suffered many hardships. He was present, as also was Mrs Leach, when the Prince Imperial was killed. In those days women "on the strength" were not provided for in the manner obtaining nowadays, but had to accompany their husbands when they went on foreign service, and after Mr Leach had gone to Africa Mrs Leach, who died about nine years ago, followed him there. She and many other women who accomanied her suffered many hardships in reaching their husbands and also after joining them. There were no trains and the women followed their husbands in waggons drawn by oxen and driven by black men. Mr and Mrs Leach were besieged in Pretoria and Mrs Leach used to steal out at nights when her husband was on sentry go to see that all was well with him.

Mr Leach was the best type of soldier, who loved his regiment and was proud of it and everything connected with it. Of a family of seven, two sons and two daughters were born at Ayr Barracks, and one son, William, employed as a postman at Ayr Post Office, was born in Pretoria during the campaign - on the battlefield as it were - when the campaign was at its fiercest.

Mr Leach was a first-class shot, and, along with the late Sergeant-Major Hardwicke, Ayr, used to represent the regiment on the occasions of big shooting competitions.

His services were valued by officers under whom he served, and one possession of which he was particularly proud was a silver watch which bore the following inscription:- "Presented to Private William Leach by Captain F. Justice, 13th L.I., in recognition of his service to Lieutenant A. Justice, Royal Scots Fusiliers, 13th September 1880." Mr Leach had never disclosed to his family what the watch was presented for, but the services rendered must have been a very unusual character to justify the presentation of a silver watch in those days.

Till the end the martial ardour was ever in his breast, and during the Great War, when at an age when most men have given up thinking about army service, he volunteered for service with the Ayrshire Veteran Section, and was accepted, being attached to the Burgh of Ayr Company of the force.

After obtaing his discharge from the Fusiliers, Mr Leach became a vanman with the late Mr A.M. Turner, Ayr (now Turners, Ltd.), and was one of only two vanmen then employed by the firm. He was a faithful servant, and was with the firm for about 20 years. To a large number of people in the town of Ayr he was popularly known as "Hazel Hoe," this name having been conferred on him by virtue of the fact that while employed with Messrs Turner he energetically pushed the sale of a non-intoxicating liquor known by that name. Mr Leach had not worked for about nine years.

The funeral, which took place to St Margaret's R.C. Cemetery on Saturday, was a military one, a firing party, a piper, and a bugler being present from the Depot, Royal Scots Fusiliers. At the grave three volleys were fired and the "Last Post" and "Reveille" were sounded.
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PostSubject: Re: Pte William Leach 2/21st Regiment   Pte William Leach 2/21st Regiment EmptySun Dec 30, 2018 11:34 pm

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From the collection of J. Needham.


Last edited by ADMIN on Wed Jan 23, 2019 8:28 pm; edited 2 times in total
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90th

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PostSubject: Pte William Leach 2/21st Regt    Pte William Leach 2/21st Regiment EmptyMon Dec 31, 2018 1:30 am

I think this watch given to Private Leach was on ebay back in July , I thought about getting it but changed my mind .
90th Shocked


Last edited by 90th on Tue Nov 09, 2021 2:05 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Pte William Leach 2/21st Regiment   Pte William Leach 2/21st Regiment EmptyWed Jan 23, 2019 8:32 pm

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Photo by Tim Needham.
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PostSubject: Re: Pte William Leach 2/21st Regiment   Pte William Leach 2/21st Regiment EmptyTue Nov 09, 2021 12:56 am

Thank you Tim Needham for posting the photo of his watch. William Leach was my Gt Grandfather. My Father would have been to proud to have seen this photo. He always told me stories about him.
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rai




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PostSubject: Re: Pte William Leach 2/21st Regiment   Pte William Leach 2/21st Regiment EmptyTue Nov 09, 2021 5:31 am

Hi All,
A bit more info on Michael Leach, B.C 1853 at Shippon Abingdon Berkshire, Attested 15 Feb 1871, aged 18, Regi No.2582, Home service to 21 Feb 1879, to South AFrica 22 Feb 1879 [this is the date he left the UK] arrived Natal 30 March 1879. In Hospital at Pretoria 15 Jan 1880 for one month with Enteric Fever. To UK 24 April 1882 [date he left S Africa] further home servive until discharge 22 oct 1889 18 yrs service. Married Jane [Fitzsimmonds ?] in Ayr 22 June 1874, 4 kids, William 81, john 83, jane 86, Emily 88. zulu War, sekukuni campaign 1879, Transvaal war [First Boer War] 1880-81, Received Long service and good conduct medal. On 1901 Census address 102 Wallace Street.
The Watch Connection, Lt Arthur Justice 2/21 Died at Pretoria 2 Sept 1880.
My own thought is that either William was his Batman or looked after him while he was dying in Pretoria.
Rai KLH.
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janetn




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PostSubject: Re: Pte William Leach 2/21st Regiment   Pte William Leach 2/21st Regiment EmptyWed Nov 10, 2021 2:04 am

Thank you so much for this information, it will help record my family history. William Leach was my Grandmother's father. My Dad used to tell the story that William's eldest son (also William) was born under a wagon in Pretoria. How strong the women must have been to travel to a strange country to follow their husbands. Cheers Jan
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PostSubject: Re: Pte William Leach 2/21st Regiment   Pte William Leach 2/21st Regiment EmptyWed Nov 10, 2021 2:09 am

Could you possibly shed any light on what or where he might have done the Home Service up until his discharge in 1889? Did his rank every change or his Regiment?
I'm suggesting it may have been in my birth town of Ayr, as subsequent children were born at Ayr Barracks.
Jan
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rai




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PostSubject: Re: Pte William Leach 2/21st Regiment   Pte William Leach 2/21st Regiment EmptyWed Nov 10, 2021 6:39 am

Hi All,
William served in the 2/21 Regt all his career and all the time as a private no promotions. He was posted, 25 Feb 1871 to Chatham, 2 Aug 71 to Woolwich [in Hospital], 5 Aug 72 to Stirling, 12 April 73 to Ayr [being in hospital dec 74 and march 75 twice] he was also married in Ayr in 1874, he then went to Aldershot but no date, 27 july 1875 Portsdown Hill [nr Portsmouth], 4 Aug 76 Portsmouth, 18 Oct 1877 to Fort George Scotland, 24 April 1878 to Dublin Ireland, he arrived in Natal South Africa 30 March 1879, was in Hospital in Pretoria 15 Jan 1880, and Hospital in Ayr 9 April 1882.
Jane his wife was born in Ayr 1855, 1891 census address Russell Street Newton upon Ayr, child Annie born here in 1891, 1901 census address 102 Wallace Street Ayr, with Ellen[Helen] born 1893, and Sarah born 1897. William Jnr marries Agnes McCartney 29 Dec 1905, John was christened Francis John 1883 in Ayr, joining the Army in 1905 Royal Engineers, Jane dies 1944, Emily marries june 1908 Patrick Clancy, Ellen marries John Neeson, dies 7 sept 1964 and is buried in Ayr cemetery, sarah was baptised 1896, marries 1933 to George Robertson.
Rai KLH
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janetn




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Pte William Leach 2/21st Regiment Empty
PostSubject: Re: Pte William Leach 2/21st Regiment   Pte William Leach 2/21st Regiment EmptyThu Nov 11, 2021 12:27 am

I really appreciate all of this information and your time to answer my question.

I didn't know that John Francis joined the army, so I've added that to my tree. I have a photo of all his siblings except him. William was in the Army too, but I don't know where he served.

Sarah married James Goudie in 1917 (not George Robertson) who was a Private in the 1st Newfoundland Regiment stationed in Ayr. They had one son in Ayr and the rest of the family were born in Newfoundland. She returned a couple of times to Ayr with her kids to visit her family.

If you have access to this information can I please ask further:

1. Can you please clarify if he was always with the 2/21 Regt was it the Royal North British Fusiliers or the Royal Scots Fusiliers that Lt Arthur Justice was in as stated in the newspaper article?

2. I have found a generic photo of the Zulu Medal on line but haven't been able to find the Good Conduct Medal and Long Service medal. Would he have received a medal for the Transval War?

3. Over his career he seems to have had a few hospitalisations even before he went to Africa. Does his record mention an underlying health condition?

Thank you in advance, kind regards Jan Neeson
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90th

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Pte William Leach 2/21st Regiment Empty
PostSubject: Pte William Leach 2/21st Regt    Pte William Leach 2/21st Regiment EmptyThu Nov 11, 2021 12:32 am

Hi Jan
I can tell you there were no medals awarded for the Transvaal War ( 1st Boer War Dec 20 1880 - March 23 1881 ) .
90th Salute
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rai




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Pte William Leach 2/21st Regiment Empty
PostSubject: Re: Pte William Leach 2/21st Regiment   Pte William Leach 2/21st Regiment EmptyThu Nov 11, 2021 5:31 am

Hi Jan,
1] served throughot with the 21st scottish Rifles.
2] No medal for this war,
3] no mainly usual ailments, enteric fever, sexual disease.
rai KLH
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John Young

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Pte William Leach 2/21st Regiment Empty
PostSubject: Re: Pte William Leach 2/21st Regiment   Pte William Leach 2/21st Regiment EmptyThu Nov 11, 2021 11:02 am

Hello Jan,

The Royal North British Fusiliers was the former title of the Royal Scots Fusiliers, so in 1871 it is the correct style for the regiment’s title. Unofficially in the late 1870’s Officers of the Regiment started styling the title to the Royal Scots Fusiliers, a title that would officially be adopted in 1881. That title would remain until 1959 when the Royal Scots Fusiliers amalgamated with Highland Light Infantry to become the Royal Highland Fusiliers, now part of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

JY
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Pte William Leach 2/21st Regiment Empty
PostSubject: Re: Pte William Leach 2/21st Regiment   Pte William Leach 2/21st Regiment EmptyThu Nov 11, 2021 6:33 pm

Jan,

Lieutenant Arthur Symonds Justice, 2nd Battalion, 21st Regiment, as mentioned in the original post.

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Lt. A.S. Justice, standing top left in the rear row, photographed at the School of Musketry, Hythe.
(John Young Collection.)

JY
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1879graves

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PostSubject: Re: Pte William Leach 2/21st Regiment   Pte William Leach 2/21st Regiment EmptyThu Nov 11, 2021 7:14 pm

Fantastic photograph Mr JY
Thank you for sharing it with the forum.

Andy
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janetn




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Pte William Leach 2/21st Regiment Empty
PostSubject: Re: Pte William Leach 2/21st Regiment   Pte William Leach 2/21st Regiment EmptyThu Nov 11, 2021 11:09 pm

Thank you again Rai KLH. It is hard to imagine my Gt Grandfather with a sexual disease! My Grandmother was such a prude!
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Pte William Leach 2/21st Regiment Empty
PostSubject: Re: Pte William Leach 2/21st Regiment   Pte William Leach 2/21st Regiment EmptyThu Nov 11, 2021 11:11 pm

Thank you JY that is a fantastic photo, maybe my Gt Grandfather is in that group, I'd like to think so.
Cheers Jan
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janetn




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PostSubject: Re: Pte William Leach 2/21st Regiment   Pte William Leach 2/21st Regiment EmptyThu Nov 11, 2021 11:14 pm

Trying to trace army records is very new to me. What sites would you recommend I start with to find other family members who served during WW1?
The information provided on this site was above and beyond expectations - thank you.
Cheers Jan
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Pte William Leach 2/21st Regiment Empty
PostSubject: Re: Pte William Leach 2/21st Regiment   Pte William Leach 2/21st Regiment EmptyFri Nov 12, 2021 8:01 am

Hi Jan,
I use Findmypast a pay to view site, most of the pay to view sites have military records. It was said that all service papers were destroyed in a depot fire however this is not the case as many are on the Find my past saying that this does not include anyone who died/KIA only those who went to pension, but other papers for some do exist John F being one. John was attested on 12 Aug 1905 no. 1478 Royal Engineers aged 21, after serving in the militia beforehand, He was discharged after only 27 days stated will not become an efficient soldier. i cannot find any records if he served in WW1, his brother William Jnr i cannot find any military records.
Rai KLH
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PostSubject: Re: Pte William Leach 2/21st Regiment   Pte William Leach 2/21st Regiment EmptySat Nov 13, 2021 3:17 am

Thank you Rai. I just joined Fold3 which is an added extra $ to Ancestry for a one month free trial.

I found William Leach Jnr's Attestation at Ayr on 17.5.1901 as a Saper in the Royal Engineers #81249 he served in France. He was discharged on 16.3.1913.

I'm attaching a photo of William Leach Snr's Boer War medal that my cousin shared with me.

Cheers Jan
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