LEONARD, James Joseph
(Service number 40008)
|Aliases||Enlisted as Leonard JAMES|
|First Rank||Private||Last Rank||Private|
|Date||22 January 1889||Place of Birth||Waimate|
|Date||11 January 1916||Age||26 years 11 months|
|Address at Enlistment||C/o Dickinson, Fordell, Wanganui|
|Previous Military Experience|
|Next of Kin||Mrs M. JAMES (mother), Arno, South Canterbury; amended to Mrs Mary LEONARD; added Mr Maurice LEONARD (father), Arno, Waimate|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||New Zealand Expeditionary Force|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||22nd Reinforcements, F Company|
|Date||13 February 1917|
|Embarked From||Wellington||Destination||Plymouth, Devon, England|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With||Otago Infantry Regiment|
|Service Medals||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|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
|Date||16 November 1922||Age||33 years|
|Place of Death||Wellington Hospital|
|Cause||Effects of war service?|
|Notices||Timaru Herald, 18 November 1922|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Waimate Old Cemetery|
|Memorial Reference||Plot 427|
|New Zealand Memorials|
James Joseph Leonard was born on 22 January 1889 at Waimate, the fifth son Maurice and Mary (née Walsh) Leonard. He was baptised Roman Catholic on 3 February 1889 at Waimate. Maurice and Mary had married in their native County Kerry, Ireland, and come to New Zealand by 1879. Thomas Leonard and Hanorah Leonard, brother and sister of Maurice, also came to New Zealand and married here. Maurice played a significant part in the Waitaki Village-Tawai district and in Waimate. Along with several of his siblings, James was educated at Tawai School, the olders ones coming to Tawai from Glenavy in 1890.
James Joseph Leonard enlisted as Leonard James, on 11 January 1916 at Tauherinekau. He was single, Roman Catholic and named as his next-of-kin his mother – Mrs M. James, Arno, Waimate, South Canterbury. This was later amended to Mrs Mary Leonard, and Mr Maurice Leonard (father), Arno, Waimate, was added. A note stated that the soldier’s correct name was Leonard, James Joseph. He was a shepherd at Fordell, Wanganui. Private Leonard James, 40008, embarked with the 22nd Reinforcements per the “Mokoia”, leaving Wellington on 13 February 1917 and disembarking at Plymouth, England, on 2 May 1917. James Joseph Leonard, shepherd, of Kauangaroa, Fordell, was called up in mid February 1917 in the Wanganui District for the 27th and 28th Reinforcements. But James Joseph Leonard was already on his way, as Leonard James.
‘Leonard James’, 40008, now with the Otago Infantry Regiment, was wounded on 16 October 1917. Mrs M. Leonard, Senior, received word, however, that Private James Leonard had been wounded on 12th October. As of 19 November 1917, his was reported to be a severe case. Mrs Leonard, Arno, received further notification that Private James Leonard had been admitted to the military hospital at Bethel Green on 19th October, severely wounded on the left thigh. His brother Pat was also hospitalised in England at this time. On 19 December 1918, James embarked at Liverpool to return home by Draft 207, the “Oxfordshire”. News had reached his father at Kapua in mid January 1919 that James Leonard would be home shortly. He was discharged no longer physically fit for War Service. There are discrepancies with regards to enlistment and discharge in the personnel file for Leonard James, 80004.
James Joseph Leonard died on 16 November 1922 at Wellington Hospital, “dearly beloved fifth son of Maurice and Mary Leonard, of Arno, Waimate.” He was only 33 years old. He was buried with his parents in the Waimate Old Cemetery. His death appears to have been as a result of his war service. A War Graves Form was prepared on 7 May 1923. In August 1923 the Tawai Soldiers War Memorial was unveiled. “We forgot our little class distinctions, our political and religious differences, and remembered only that we were all equal sons and daughters of the Empire.” These were the words of the Rev Wilson in addressing those gathered, before he unveiled the memorial - “To the glory of God, and in memory of the men from Tawai District who made the great sacrifice.”. The President of the Waimate Branch of the R.S.A. was glad to see that the people of Tawai realised their indebtedness to those who did not return and also to those who did. The names of twenty-two men who returned, including P. Leonard (James’ brother), are included on the memorial. In the centre is the inscription: “The supreme sacrifice,” and under an emblem of laurel leaves the five names, J. Leonard being one of them. And the inscription: “They died that we might live.” [See Timaru Herald, 24 August 1923 – attachment]
His brother Patrick Joseph Leonard also served in the First World War, and two other brothers, Michael Martin Leonard and Joseph Thomas Leonard, also enlisted. The two oldest sons of the family – Maurice Leonard and John Patrick Leonard – were both listed on the Reserve Roll, being married men with children. Three cousins Michael Joseph Leonard, Michael Vincent Foley (with the Australian forces under an assumed name) and Timothy Joseph Foley – all served in the War.
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [03 March 2021]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [26 February 2021]; Baptism Index Christchurch Catholic Diocese CD held by South Canterbury Branch NZSG) [26 February 2021]; School Admission record (South Canterbury Branch NZSG) [26 February 2021]; Waimate Old Cemetery burial record [26 February 2021]; Waimate Cemetery headstone transcription [26 February 2021]; NZ Electoral Rolls (ancestry.com.au) [03 March 2021]; Wanganui Herald, 13 February 1917, Wanganui Chronicle, 14 February 1917, Waimate Daily Advertiser, 2 & 19 November 1917, 24 January 1919, NZ Times, 2 November 1917, 29 January 1919, Evening Post, 19 November 1917, Timaru Herald, 18 November 1922, 24 August 1923 (Papers Past) [09 February 2020; 03 & 04 March 2021]
Researched and Written by
Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG
Currently Assigned to
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License unless otherwise stated.
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