(Service number 13/985)
|First Rank||Private||Last Rank||Trooper|
|Date||18 February 1888||Place of Birth||Leeston, Canterbury, New Zealand|
|Date||14 August 1914||Age||26|
|Address at Enlistment||Willowbridge, Waimate|
|Previous Military Experience||E Battery Christchurch 2 years|
|Next of Kin||Mrs SA Price (mother) 15 Shakespeare Street, Sydenham, Christchurch|
|Medical Information||5 foot 9 inches tall, weight 180 pounds (82kgs), chest 36-38 1/2 inches, fair complexion, brown eyes, dark brown hair, good teeth, tattooed freely on both forearms|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||(1) Main Body; & (2) 4th Reinforcements|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||(1) Canterbury Infantry Regiment; & (2) Auckland Mounted Rifles|
|Date||(1)16 October 1914; & (2) 17 April 1915|
|Transport||(1) HMNZT11 Athenic; & (2) HMNZT21 Willochra|
|Embarked From||Wellington, New Zealand||Destination||(1) Suez, Egypt; & (2) Suez, Egypt|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With||Auckland Mounted Rifles|
|Campaigns||Egypt, Balkans (Gallipoli), & Western European|
|Service Medals||1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal|
Award Circumstances and Date
Prisoner of War Information
|Date of Capture|
|Where Captured and by Whom|
|Actions Prior to Capture|
|PoW Serial Number|
|Date||(1 & 2) 22 August 1916, & (3) 3 June 1917, & (4) 8 November 1918||Reason||Medically unfit for active service on account of illness contracted on active service|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
13 September 1915 - Mudros dysentery - transferred to Hospital, Port Said with dysentery & jaundice; 7 October - transferred to NZ General Hospital, Cairo; 15 December - discharged to Convalescent Home, Heliopolis; 27 December - discharged to Base Depot. 20 February to 17 May 1916 - admitted to VD Hospital, Cairo.
Labourer & Carpenter
|Date||28 June 1960||Age||73 years|
|Place of Death||Rahui, Opotiki, New Zealand|
|Notices||Dept of Internal Affairs 27 April 1961|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Opotiki Cemetery|
|Memorial Reference||Grave number 60, Services Section|
|New Zealand Memorials|
Leonard was born at Leeston, Canterbury, on 18 February 18, 1888 - although various other dates were given on his enlistments papers. His registered name was Llewellyn and thoughout his life he appears to have used both names. His father, John William (known as William) Price died at Leeston on 16 November 1890, where he had been employed as a labourer. His mother Sarah Ann (nee Hopes) died at Christchurch on 22 May 1927 and is buried in the Bromley Cemeterywith another child, Alan Charles. The family had come out to New Zealand in the late 1860s or early 1870s.
On the outbreak of war Leonard enlisted at Timaru on 14 August 1914. At the time was employed as a mill hand for Mr W Duncan at Willowbridge, near Waimate. He stated he had 2 years territorial service with E Battery, Christchurch. He was a big man for the times with his papers describing him as being single, aged 26 years, Anglican, 5 foot 9 inches tall, weighing 180 pounds (82kgs), with a chest measuring 36-38 ½ inches, of fair complexion, brown eyes, dark brown hair, having good teeth and was tattooed freely on both forearms. He nominated his mother, Mrs S A Price of 15 Shakespeare Road, Waltham in Christchurch, as his next of kin. He gave his enlistment address as Willowbridge. On 17 August, after being farewelled at the drill hall by the Ven Archdeacon Jacob, Leonard and other local recruits marched behind the band of the 2nd (SC) Regiment through Stafford Street to the railway station, where they boarded the second express for Christchurch. On arrival in Christchurch they marched in to the Addington Showground’s which had been set up as a Mobilisation Camp for the Canterbury Military District. Here the men lived under canvas, and were issued with basic equipment, blankets and a rifle. Training began under the tuition of officers and non-commissioned officer who had gained their experience in the Territorial’s, and range practice was held at Redcliff’s with the local area used for route marching. At the beginning of September due to bad weather, the camp moved to the Metropolitan Trotting Club’s grounds next door for a few days, before again moving to Plumpton Park Trotting Ground at Sockburn on 7 September.
On 23 September 1914, the “Athenic” (HMNZT11) was in Lyttelton and took on board units of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, mainly Headquarters, Mounted Rifles Brigade, the Canterbury Mounted Rifles Regt. (2 squadrons) and the Canterbury Infantry Battalion (less 1 Company). This consisted of 54 officers, 1,259 men and 339 horses, together known as the “Main Body”. She then proceeded to Wellington and berthed there untill 16 October 1914, when it was judged safe to depart. The delay was caused by the presence in the South Pacific of enemy warships, and the lack of a suitable naval escort powerful enough to protect the convoy. In the meantime the troops living aboard ship were taken ashore daily for exercise, training on the Wellington hills, and also out to the Trentham rifle range. Finally on 16 October 1914, after the arrival of HMS “Minotaur” and the Japanese warship “Ibuki” and escorts HMS “Psyche” and HMS “Philomel” Private Price boarded HMNZT11 “Athenic” which proceeded to sail in convoy with nine other transports. This convoy was made up of 8,500 men, and about 4,000 horses. It made its way to the Middle East by way of Hobart, where they had a route march through the town and were treated with flowers, fruit and bottles of beer by the local people - which did not seem to please General Godley and his staff when they marched past. For some of the men Hobart proved too attractive and Private Price was one of eleven men who took the opportunity to abscond. Of these, seven were from the Auckland Battalion and they rejoined the NZEF later. The remaining four were from the Canterbury Battalion, remained absent and were listed as deserters. What happened to Private Price between the time of deserting and showing up again back in New Zealand on 22 December 1914 is not known. There is an obscured pencilled entry on his file mentioning the Waikeria Prison near Te Awamutu in the Waikato, so he possibly spent a spell here on his return as from 23 December 1914; he is also listed as a member of the 4th Waikato Mounted Rifles Squadron of the Auckland Mounted Rifles.
Eventually, after another period of training at Trentham he boarded HMNZT21 “Willochra” at Wellington on 17 April 1915, as part of the 4th Reinforcements, Auckland Mounted Rifles (AMR), bound for Suez, Egypt. This convoy, also including HMNZT22 “Knight Templar” and HMNZT23 “Waitomo”, had a total of 2,254 men. This time there was no temptation as they only had a short stop at Hobart on 22 April to allow some sick men to go ashore, then proceeded to Albany for a bit of leave and the usual route march through the streets. On 12 May they crossed the Equator and met with Father Neptune, arriving in Egypt via Aden on 25 May. At this time Egypt was having the hottest period for many years when they marched into camp at Zeitoun. Training continued in the desert even so, punctuated with the odd spot of leave in Cairo. The Mounted Rifles were to remain in Egypt to continue training and to defend the Suez Canal against the Turks with training focusing on long-distance treks and inter-brigade manoeuvres.
In May 1915 with boredom settling in, the Waikato’s and others of the AMR joined the Gallipoli campaign, with Trooper Price joining his unit at the Dardanelles on 23 August. At this time the AMR and the Wellington Mounted Rifles moved into the front line further north, on Hill 60, relieving the Canterbury and Otago Mounted Rifles. An attack on 27 August resulted in capturing some enemy trenches which the New Zealand Mounted Rifles (NZMR) then defended against Ottoman counter-attacks throughout the day and night. Later in the day 180 men of the 10th Australian Light Horse Regiment arrive to reinforce the line and on 29 August they moved into trenches at the rear of the Hill 60 position. The AMR suffered heavy casualties at Hill 60: one officer and 37 other ranks killed, and four officers and 61 other ranks wounded. From 4 to 12 September the AMR moved to Cheshire Ridge. On 13 September the AMR was then ordered to move down to the beach and embarked on HMT “Osmanich”.
Along with the rest of the NZMR, the AMR was taken to the island of Lemnos in the Aegean Sea for rest and training. Disembarking at Mudros Harbour they entered Sarpi Camp. On that day Trooper Price reported sick and was admitted to the Hospital Ship “Formosa” for transport to Port Said where he was admitted to hospital on 16 August suffering from dysentery. On 21 September he was transferred to NZ General Hospital in Port Said, then transferred to the NZ General Hospital at Cairo on 7 October. Eventually, on 15 December he was again transferred, this time to the Aotea Convalescent Home at Heliopolis. On 27 December he was discharged to the Base Depot at Gerirch before rejoining his unit at Zeitoun on 4 January 1916.
The Auckland Mounted Rifles Regiment, like the rest of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade, soon recouped its strength after returning to Egypt from Gallipoli. On 20 February 1916 Trooper Price was admitted to the VD Hospital at Cairo for a time, being discharged back to the Base Depot at Tel-el-Kebuit on 17 May 1916. From here on 17 July he was invalided back to New Zealand aboard the “Ulimaroa” arriving at Port Chalmers on 22 August 1916. Immediately on arrival in New Zealand, and after having served for two years and nine days, he was struck off strength as no longer physically fit for active service on account of illness contracted on active service.
Leonard again enlisted at Christchurch on 6 March 1917, serving with the artillery at Lyttelton until 3 June 1917, before being again discharged as medically unfit. On 3 June 1918 enlisted for a third time and was posted for home service at Trentham as a Corporal in the Camp Police, until his final discharge on 8 November 1918. He was later awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal for his service.
In 1918 Leonard married Agnes Sheerin (1902-1947) and in 1919 and was living in Paparangi, Johnsonville, employed as a labourer. By 1921 he had deserted his wife, and was imprisoned in the Wellington Goal for failing to provide maintenance for his two children who had been placed in a Wellington Orphanage. He was divorced from this marriage in 1926 on the grounds of desertion. 1939 saw him married a second time, to Agnes Ruth Vercoe, but in the same year appeared in the Wairoa Court for failing to maintain his wife. A further possible marriage took place in 1949 to Kate Edwards, but could not be confirmed. From 1949 to 1954 he was living at Lower Waiawa, employed as a carpenter and in 1957 at Omarumuru as a labourer. He died at Rahui, Opotiki, aged 73 years, on 28 June 1960, and is buried in the Opotiki Cemetery.
A brother, 58593 Corporal Eli James Price also served with the Canterbury Infantry Regiment in Western Europe.
Assorted articles courtesy of Papers Past at https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/; Assorted records at Ancestry.com [August 2021]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records, Archives NZ
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