John Thomas Leach was born in Peterborough in 1874, the fourth of six children of William George and Anna Maria, nee Farnes.The family moved to Peterborough from London before 1881. John left home and came to work in Bradford as a slater’s labourer. He was 16 years of age and boarded at 8 Victoria Road, Eccleshill.He married Rose Emily Vintner on the 7th of August 1897 at St Luke’s Church, Eccleshill. Rose had come to Bradford to work as a domestic servant. The couple went to live at 22 The Bank, Eccleshill. By 1911 they were living at 5 Victoria Place, Eccleshill and Rebecca the sister of Rose was also living with them.
At the time of John’s enlistment, he and Rose were living at 6 King Street and John was employed by Thomas Nelson of Manningham as a slater.John enlisted on the 1st of March 1915 as Private 23681 in the 2nd Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry. He had previously served in the Bradford Territorials and he arrived in France on the 29th of June 1915.In the summer of 1915 there was no general change in the situation on the Western Front. It was a period of static warfare when the army was suffering average losses of 300 men a day from sniping and shellfire.John became one of these casualties. He was killed by a
German sniper on the 23rd of October 1915 at the age of 41.Rose received two letters, one from Sgt Coleman, who wrote “I am sorry to inform you of the death of your husband. “The bullet entered just below the heart and he died before I could apply a bandage. “He was a very good soldier and always did his best but evidently his time had come. We are all sorry to lose him and all join in sending you our deepest sympathy.” His comrade Private Robson said “Your husband was well liked by his comrades and all regret our loss. He was such a cool headed
soldier under heavy fire and always devoted to his duty”.John is buried in the Polijze Burial Ground Cemetery which was within the Allied lines for practically the whole of the First World War and used from April 1915.He left his effects to his widow Rose who received £2.0.11d on the 11th February 1916 and a War Gratuity of £3.0.0d on the 20th of August 1919.
. Researched and written by Jean Britteon, to whom many thanks