Sapper (Pioneer) Clement LEEKE


Regiment/Service:
Royal Engineers
Unit:
90th Field Company
Service Number:
50313
Date of Death:
3 November 1915 - Killed in Action
Age:
33
Cemetery / Memorial:
Grave Reference:
I. F. 18.


Personal History:

Clement was born in Crewe, Cheshire, in the December quarter 1881. He was the eldest son of William (Forgeman) and Kate (née Hughes) Leeke. In 1891 the family were living at 14 Oxford Street, Crewe, and Clement had three younger brothers, Major, William and Lemuel (Census RG 12/2853).

Ten years later the family had moved to 153 West Street, Crewe. Two more brothers, Reginald and Harold W., had been born, and Clement was employed as an "Apprentice Engine Fitter". (1901 Census RG 13/3358).
By 1911 (Census RG 14/) Clement had moved to lodge with the Latham family at 9 Railway Terrace, Lightwood Road, Buxton, employed as a "Locomotive Fitter". 

[N.B. Clement's younger brother William served 13 years 92 days with the Cheshire Regiment ('B' Company). His was taken prisoner in the first few days of the War, on 24th August 1914, and remained in captivity until August 1918. - see Footnote below.]  

Military History:
Unfortunately, Clement's Service Records have not survived, but it is known that he enlisted into the Royal Engineers at Buxton. His Medal Index Card shows that he entered France on the 13th May 1915, allowing for training, he must, therefore have enlisted shortly after the outbreak of the War.

The 90th Field Company, Royal Engineers, had originally been with the 23rd Division, but were transferred to The 9th Division in January 1915. The 9th (Scottish) Division came into existence as a result of Army Order No. 324, issued on 21st August 1914, which authorised the formation of the six new Divisions of Kitchener's Army or K1.

Clement probably trained at Salisbury Training Centre in August 1914 and Bordon in September 1914. The units of the Division crossed to France 9th - 12th May 1915, with Clement arriving on the 13th. 

Later in 1915 Clement's Company took part in The Battle of Loos, 25 September - 18 October 1915. The 9th (Scottish) Division, under Major-General George Handcock Thesiger was part of the First Army (General Sir Douglas Haig). It was three weeks after this Battle ended that he was klled in action.

On the date he died, however, the Company is not listed as being actively engaged, nor is anyone
else from the Company among the Royal Engineers who were killed on the 3rd November. He could
have been killed by a sniper or shell fire. He is buried in Railway Dugouts Burial Ground.

Footnote:

Clement's brother, Pt. 8244 William LEEKE, served 13 years 92 days with the 1st Battalion, Cheshire
Regiment ('B' Company) having enlisted on the 29th August 1906. His was wounded (SWB B349594)
and taken prisoner in the first few days of the War, on 24th August 1914, during the Battalion's heroic
stand at Audregnies, and remained in captivity until August 1918. He was discharged on the 28th
November 1919.

                                   

Sources:
· I am grateful to British War Graves for the photo of Clement's grave
· I am also grateful to Val Stenson ('The Fallen of Fairfield') for the photo of Clement from 'The Buxton Advertiser' 10th April 1915.


Commemorated on:
Link to CWGC Record
Railway Dugouts Cemetery in the 1920s
Spr Leeke's grave
poppy
Railway Dugouts Burial Ground, c. 1920
..... about the 1/Cheshire's actions in 1914