Friends of the Somme - Mid Ulster Branch  
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36704   Sapper James Joseph Leonard
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Dated added: 30/12/2015   Last updated: 30/07/2021
Personal Details
Regiment/Service: 157th Field Company, Royal Engineers (British Army)
Date Of Birth: 23/09/1884
Died: 12/10/1918 (Killed in Action)
Age: 34
Summary      
James Joseph Leonard was a son of James and Sarah Ann Leonard, nee Quinn. He was born on 23rd September 1884 in Brackaville, Coalisland. He was one of at least nine children. His father was a brick layer and a stone mason. James enlisted in Tuam, County Galway, where he was working. Sapper James Joseph Leonard was serving with the 157th Field Company of the Royal Engineers when he died at the Heute DeŻle Canal in France on 12th October 1918. Sapper Leonard was killed at a pontoon bridge.
Further Information
James Joseph Leonard was a son of James and Sarah Ann Leonard, nee Quinn.
James Leonard was born on 23rd September 1884 in Brackaville, Coalisland. He was one of at least nine children.
Known family: James Leonard, Sarah Ann Leonard, John Leonard (born about 1881), Lizzie Leonard (born about 1883), James Joseph Leonard (born 23rd September 1884), Patrick Leonard (born about 1888), Elizabeth Leonard (born about 1889), Agnes Leonard (born 27th December 1889), Annie Leonard (born about 1891), Dannie Leonard (born about 1893), Francis Leonard (born 20th May 1897).
The 1901 census shows 15 year old James to be working as a mill worker. He was living with the family at Brackaville, Tullyniskane, Tyrone. His father was a brick layer.
The 1911 census records that James no longer lived with the family in Brackaville, Tullyniskane, Tyrone. His father was a stone mason. The rest of the family worked in the mill.
James Leonard enlisted in Tuam, County Galway, where he was working.
Medal card
Sapper James Joseph Leonard arrived in France with Royal Engineers on 29th September 1915.
Sapper James Joseph Leonard was serving with the 157th Field Company of the Royal Engineers when he died in France on 12th October 1918.
Sapper Leonard was killed at the Heute DeŻle Canal along with Sapper Henry Dunnington (Service No 139880), one month before the end of the war.
The war diary shows that in October 1918 the Company were based in Auchy constructing pontoons for crossing the Heute DeŻle Canal and attempting to stop a leak or a 'cut' in the canal bank. The diary for 13 October records: ĎNo. 3 (Section) in canal cut. Sappers Leonard and Dunnington killed and the stopping of the leak was not successful.í
In his will, James left all to his mother, Sarah Ann Leonard, who was living at Brackaville, Coalisland.
Last Will and Testament of Sapper James Joseph Leonard dated 22nd July 1915:
In the event of my death, I give the whole of my property and effects to my mother, Sarah Ann Leonard, of Brackaville, Coalisland, County Tyrone Ireland. Sapper James Joseph Leonard. 36704 Royal Engineers.
Sapper James Joseph Leonard is buried in Cambrin Military Cemetery in France.
His inscription reads: NO KING OR SAINT HAD TOMB SO PROUD AS HE WHOSE FLAG BECOMES HIS SHROUD. The quote comes from the Irish poet Thomas Osborne Davisí poem ĎNationalityí.
Sapper James Joseph Leonard is commemorated locally on Dungannon War Memorial.
The CWGC record Sapper James Joseph Leonard as the son of James and Sarah A Leonard of Brackaville, Coalisland, County Tyrone.
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Relevant Dungannon Area Locations
No Location Region Location Notes Longtitude Latitude
1 Brackaville, Tullyniskane Coalisland Census listing in Brackaville, Tullyniskane 54.548919 -6.713781
GRONI References
TYPE - B:Birth M:Marriage D:Death | GRONI | SIBLING: brother or sister | NOTES: spelling inconsistencies, etc.
Date Type Surname First name Relationship GRONI Ref Notes
23/09/1884 B Leonard James Casualty U/1884/110/1012/14/37 Guin
01/09/1886 B Leonard Charles Sibling U/1886/110/1012/15/164 Quin
27/12/1889 B Leonard Agnes Sibling U/1890/110/1012/17/58 Quinn
20/05/1897 B Leonard Francis Sibling U/1897/110/1012/19/400 Quinn
References and Links
No Link Reference Map Doc
1 1901 Census lists Leonard family Lists James Joe as age 15 living with the family at house 24 in Brackaville, Tullyniskane, Tyrone
2 1911 Census lists Leonard family Does not list James as living with the family at house 58 in Brackaville, Tullyniskane, Tyrone
3 CWGC Sapper Henry Dunnington - killed in same incident
4 Epitaphs of the Great War Details of Sapper James Leonard
5 FindAGrave.com Photo of Sapper James Leonard's headstone
6 Internet Poems 'Nationality' by Thomas Osborne Davis
7 National Archives of Ireland Last Will and Testament of Sapper James Leonard
8 National Archives UK Medal Card can be purchased here - 36714
9 War Graves Photographic Project Photo of Sapper James Leonard's headstone can be purchased here
Dungannon District's War Dead Acknowledgements 2015-2021