LEARY, Edward
(Service number )

Aliases Thady
First Rank Last Rank


Date 29 March 1889 Place of Birth Timaru

Enlistment Information

Date 21 December 1917 Age 28 years
Address at Enlistment Battersea House, Goldsmith Road, Napier
Occupation Labourer
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Cornelius LEARY (father), Hilton, Timaru
Religion Roman Catholic
Medical Information Height 5 feet 10 inches. Weight 11 stone. Chest measurement 34¾-37½ inches. Complexion dark. Eyes brown. hair brown. Sight - both eyes 6.6. Hearing & colour vision both normal. Limbs well formed. Full & perfect movement of all joints. Chest well formed. Heart & lungs normal. Teeth - 3 missing, 2 ... free from hernia, varicocele, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. Vaccination mark. Good bodily & mental health. No slight defects. No distinctive marks or marks indicating congenital peculiarities or previous disease. Fit.

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation
Unit, Squadron, or Ship
Embarked From Destination
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With

Military Awards

Service Medals
Military Awards

Award Circumstances and Date

No information

Prisoner of War Information

Date of Capture
Where Captured and by Whom
Actions Prior to Capture
PoW Serial Number
PoW Camps
Days Interned
Liberation Date


Date Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations


Date 3 December 1947 Age 58 years
Place of Death Wellington
Memorial or Cemetery Karori Cemetery, Wellington
Memorial Reference Section ROM CATH2, Plot 285 A
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Edward Leary was born on 29 March 1889 (not 18 December 1887 as he attested) at Timaru or Geraldine. Known as Thady at school, he was the fourth son of Cornelius and Annie (née Jennings) Leary. Along with his siblings, Thady was educated at Kakahu School (also known as Hilton School), where his father served on the School committee for many years. There young Thady met with success. On a fine day in late December 1896, the children enjoyed their annual treat (refreshments, lunch, games and sports) and the prize-giving, accompanied by songs and recitations. Thady received a committee prize for passing Standard I. The 1899 annual treat and distribution of prizes were again enjoyed by children and parents. And Thady Leary was again one of the “pleased winners” at the “most interesting part of the proceedings”, scoring Merit for Standard III. The following year the school was favoured with a splendid day, and Thady again gained reward for the year’s work in school – a Merit Prize for Standard IV.

His mother died on 30 August 1900 at the birth of twin sons, the youngest of thirteen children, when Edward would still be at school. His second brother died in 1901, aged just 20, after a long illness. His father Cornelius Leary died in 1920. Edward Leary – Ted – was still in the district in December 1906 when he came in third place in the second heat of the One Mile Bicycle Handicap and started Bicycle Handicap 1½ miles, events conducted at the Pleasant point Caledonian Society’s annual sports. It appears that 18-year old Edward may have been in Wellington by December 1907, when he and 18-year old twins – “brave but beery boys” - went on the rampage and bashed a constable. For his actions he incurred a £5 fine. Was he the Edward Leary who lost control of his machine in Willis street when he was riding a bicycle too big for his limbs? After striking a post he was taken to hospital but soon recovered. Perhaps he was he was one of the Territorials who, in March 1914 in Wellington, had failed to attend drill, resulting in a 5 shillings fine and costs or 48 hours military detention. Maybe too, he was the Edward Leary who was fined 10 shillings with costs for driving a motor cycle round a corner in Palmerston North in February 1916 at “other than a walking pace”.

By 1914 Edward was living at Battersea House, Port Ahuriri in the Napier area, where he was working as a butcher.Edward attested voluntarily while residing at Battersea House, Goldsmith Road, Napier, possibly on 21 December 1917. There he was a labourer for Mr Roberts, single, Roman Catholic, and had not previously served in the military or naval force; nor had he registered for compulsory military training. He was a well built man, standing at 5 feet 10 inches, weighing 11 stone, and with a chest expansion of 34¾-37½ inches. His complexion was dark, and eyes and hair brown. He was in good bodily and physical health, only a few teeth missing or extracted, and he had been vaccinated. Thus he was judged fit. He nominated his father, Cornelius Leary, of Hilton, as his next-of-kin.

After the war Edward resided in Wellington, working first as a wool classer and then as a watersider. He died in wellington on 3 December 1947, aged 58 years, he is buried in the Karori Cemetery. His younger brother Jeremiah Leary served in World War I. John O’Leary who served with the Australian Forces and was killed in action at Gallipoli, appears to have been a cousin.


Sources - Attestation (Voluntary) Record (Archives NZ ref. AABK 7219 W5573 D. 396/19788) [25 January 2019]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [18 December 2016]; School Admission record (South Canterbury Branch NZSG) [25 January 2019]; Temuka Leader, 31 December 1896, 9 January 1900, 29 December 1900, 18 December 1906, Timaru Herald, 1 September 1900, 30 & 31 May 1901, 12 July 1920, Truth, 28 December 1907, Evening Post, 30 November 1908, 27 March 1914, Manawatu Times, 22 February 1916 (Papers Past) [25 January 2019]; Karori Cemetery burial record (Wellington City Council) [26 January 2019]; NZ Electoral Rolls ( [25 January 2019]

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