20211219_9_ee
A village with a big story
Little Holland cottages at top of Green no longer there
train
20210715_104633_ees
Claypits Pond with Horses 1905
Long Melford Coronation fancy dress competition at the British Legion in Cordell road1953
previous arrow
next arrow

Leeks

Selected Biographies

Leeks, Albert Born: Haverhill, Suffolk on 21.3.1889.[1] Parents: Hardy Leeks of Long Melford (Horsehair Factory Manager) and Ellen Louisa [née Cadge]. Family Connections: Brother to Arthur William Leeks of Long Melford [b1884], Hardy Edmund Leeks [b1886], Fred Leeks [b1893] and Walter Leeks [b1898]. Home: Horsehair Factory, The Street, Lawshall (1891 to 1901), 1 Smaley Lane, Back Meadow, Long Melford (1911), Hall Street, Long Melford (1921 to 1939), Church House, Church Walk, Long Melford [1953]. Occupation: Horsehair Weaver (1911), Porter [1915], unemployed Roadman formally with West Suffolk County Council (1921), Window Cleaner (1939). Married: Ethel May Boreham of Long Melford in 1916.[2] Service Record: Albert was conscripted on 10.12.1915 as Pte.3856 with 3/5th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment, posted to France from 1.12.1916 and transferred as Pte.5134 to 1/4th Battalion, Suffolks as part of 98th Brigade, 33rd Division.  On 23.4.1917 his unit launched a dawn attack at German positions on the Hindenburg Line at Guémappe, six miles southwest of Arras.  During this bloody engagement the Suffolks sustained over 300 casualties, one of whom was Private Leeks who received shrapnel wounds to his abdomen and left thigh.  He was returned to England for treatment and on 8.9.1917 was transferred as Pte.389674 to the Labour Corps, being issued with a Silver War Badge and discharged in April 1918 due to wounds sustained a year earlier.[3]  Died: Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk on 12.10.1953.[4]

Leeks, Alfred William Born: Long Melford, Suffolk on 20.5.1874.[5]  Parents: Alfred Leeks (Iron Fitter) and Mary Ann [née Byford] (Horsehair Weaver).  Home: Westgate Street, Long Melford (1881 to 1939), Bixbys Yard, Westgate Street, Long Melford [1964].  Occupation: Coconut Mat Weaver (1891 to 1911), Agricultural Labourer (1939).  Service Record: Alfred is recorded as a member of the Melford Silver Band in 1900, 1911 and 1914.[6]  He attested as Pte.21132 with the Suffolk Regiment, transferring as Pte.3724 to the Machine Gun Corps and posted to France.  Alfred was wounded in 1917 and discharged in February 1919.[7]  In 1922 he is recorded as a committee member of the Long Melford Ex-Service Men’s Club.  Died: Sudbury, Suffolk on 27.12.1964.[8]

Leeks, Arthur William Born: Long Melford, Suffolk on 11.7.1884.[9] Parents: Hardy Leeks of Long Melford (Horsehair Factory Manager) and Ellen Louisa [née Cadge]. Family Connections: Brother to Hardy Edmund Leeks [b1886], Albert Leeks [b1889], Fred Leeks [b1893] and Walter Leeks [b1898]; also, uncle of John Hilton Leeks [b1921]. Home: Horsehair Factory, The Street, Lawshall, Suffolk (1891 and 1901), Military Barracks in Egypt (1911), Curragh Military Barracks, Ireland (1921), 64 Colehill Lane, Fulham, London (1939). Occupation: Agricultural Labourer (1901), Soldier [1905 to 1925], Bricklayer (1939). Married: possibly to Lily F.[10]  Service Record: Arthur enlisted in 1905 as Pte.7141 with 1st Battalion, Suffolk Regiment, serving in Egypt and the Sudan before returning to England in October 1914.  By the time of his posting to France on 16.1.1915 he had attained the rank of Sergeant.  Without an extant Service Record, it is not possible to say, with any certainty, when Leeks transferred to his new battalion as Company Sergeant Major, however it would probably have been before 1st Suffolks were drafted to Salonika in October 1915.  As an experienced Non-Commissioned Officer, Leeks would have been an asset to the newly formed 9th [Service] Battalion, Suffolk Regiment, which sailed for France at the end of August 1915, as part of 71st Brigade, 24th Division.  The Battalion saw action at the Battle of Loos in September, losing 135 men during this, its first encounter with the enemy.  In October Arthur’s unit was transferred with the rest of the Brigade to 6th Division, staying under its command until February 1918, when the Battalion was disbanded.  Over the intervening period however, much blood was shed, with 9th Suffolks in action at the Battles of Flers-Courcelette, Morvel and Le Transloy on the Somme in 1916, and at Cambrai in following year.  A note found in the service record of another soldier shows that while Arthur was serving as a CSM with 9th Suffolks he received a shrapnel wound to his elbow.  This has been confirmed by independent research undertaken by the son-in-law of his brother Walter, who has found references to Arthur being injured on three separate occasions: to his scalp on 20.2.1915, his thigh on 24.4.1915 and to his right elbow on 12.10.1916.  As a career soldier he continued his service beyond the Armistice in 1918, and on the 1921 UK Census is recorded as a Warrant Officer Class II serving with 2nd Battalion, Suffolks stationed in Ireland. He received his discharge in March 1925.[11]  Died: Fulham, London in 1940.  According to the same source Arthur is thought by the family to have been killed during a German bombing raid, a view which is supported by the Borough having suffered continual attention of the Luftwaffe during the second week of October 1940.[12]

Leeks, Fred Born: Lawshall, Suffolk on 12.10.1893.[13] Parents: Hardy Leeks of Long Melford (Horsehair Factory Manager) and Ellen Louisa [née Cadge].  Family Connections: Brother to Arthur William Leeks of Long Melford [b1884], Hardy Edmund Leeks [b1886], Albert Leeks [b1889] and Walter Leeks [b1898]; also, uncle of John Hilton Leeks [b1921]. Home: Horsehair Factory, The Street, Lawshall (1901), Smaley Lane, Back Meadow Long Melford (1911), 10 Princes Street, Parkston, Essex (1921), 15 Abdy Avenue, Dovercourt, Essex (1939) to [1946].  Occupation: Agricultural Labourer (1911), Labourer for the Great Eastern Railway at Harwich Docks (1921 to 1939).  Married: Mahalia Florence Lewis in 1924. Service Record: Fred enlisted on 3.9.1914 as Pte.2259 with 1/5th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment and was posted to Suvla Bay, Gallipoli from 10.8.1915 as part of 163rd Brigade, 54th [East Anglian] Division.[14]  The Battalion, together with other units in the Division, was evacuated on 6.12.1915 from Anzac Cove, Gallipoli to Egypt.  Independent research undertaken by the son-in-law of his brother Walter, records that Fred was hospitalized to England at the end of November 1915, later re-joining his unit in Egypt.  In 1917 Fred took part in the invasion of Palestine, seeing action at the First, Second and Third Battles of Gaza, the capture of Jerusalem, and the Battle of Sharon in September 1918.  He was issued with a new regimental number in 1917 as Pte.240489, receiving his discharge in April 1919.[15] Died: Dovercourt, Essex on 26.2.1947.[16]

Leeks, Frederick Charles – Born: Hoxton, London on 24.10.1871.[17] Parents: Walter Leeks [né Lee] of Long Melford (Paperhanger) and Lucy [née Clarke]. Family Connections: Brother to William Robert Leeks [b1876].  Home: 43 Bowling Green Lane, Clerkenwell, London (1881, 1891), 7 Kingston Terrace, Brighton, Sussex [1916], 328 Brighton Road, Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex (1939). Occupation: Paperhanger (1891 to 1939). Married: Ellen ‘Leana’ Mary Stenning [widow] in 1916. Service Record: Frederick enlisted in 1903 as Pte.4057 with the Middlesex Regiment. He re-enlisted on 5.9.1914 as Pte.TR/10/13338 of 6th [Reserve] Battalion, Duke of Cambridge’s Own [Middlesex] Regiment, transferring on 1.9.1916 to 24th [Training Reserve] Battalion. He was issued with a Silver War Badge and discharged on 1.8.1917 due to sickness.[18] Died: Worthing, Sussex in 1958.

Leeks, Hardy Edmund [MM] Born: Haverhill, Suffolk on 6.4.1886.[19] Parents: Hardy Leeks of Long Melford (Horsehair Factory Manager) and Ellen Louisa [née Cadge]. Family Connections: Brother to Arthur William Leeks of Long Melford [b1884], Albert Leeks [b1889], Fred Leeks [b1893] and Walter Leeks [b1898]; also, brother-in-law of Horace William Pleasants [b1881], Thomas Edward Pleasants [b1884] and Frederick George Pleasants [b1893], and uncle of John Hilton Leeks [b1921]. Home: Horsehair Factory, The Street, Lawshall (1891 and 1901), 10 Princes Street, Parkston, Essex (1911) to [1934]. Occupation: Gardener(1901), Labourer for the Great Eastern Railway at Harwich Docks (1911 to 1921). Married: Sarah Sophia Pleasants of Long Melford in 1909. Service Record: Before 1902 Hardy served in 3rd [Militia] Battalion, Suffolk Regiment, enlisting in 1902 as Pte.6056 with 1st Battalion, Suffolks, giving his age falsely as eighteen.  Hardy transferred to the Army Reserve in 1905, being discharged on 4.4.1914.  He was recalled to the Colours and was posted to France, serving as Sgt.32057 with 2nd Battalion, Suffolks as part of 76th Brigade, 3rd Division.  There is no extant record of precisely when he was posted to the Western Front, but it may have been by early 1915.  If this assumption is correct, he would have seen action during the Somme Offensive of 1916 and at the First and Second Battles of the Scarpe in April 1917.  It was probably at the Scarpe that he was awarded the Military Medal for his ‘bravery in the field’.[20]  Died: Parkston, Essex on 28.7.1934.[21]

Leeks, John Hilton – Born: Long Melford, Suffolk on 25.12.1921.[22] Parents: Albert Leeks [see details above] and Ethel [née Boreham] of Long Melford.  Family Connections: Nephew of Arthur William Leeks [b1884], Hardy Edmund Leeks [b1886], Fred Leeks [b1893] and Walter Leeks [b1898]. Home: Hall Street, Long Melford (1939). Occupation: Bricklayer (1939). Service Record: John enlisted in 1940 as Spr.5834893 with 279 Field Company, Royal Engineers, being posted to Egypt in September 1942 and returning to England in June 1943.[23] Died: Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk in 1969.

Leeks, Walter Born: Lawshall, Suffolk in 1898. Parents: Hardy Leeks of Long Melford (Horsehair Factory Manager) and Ellen Louisa [née Cadge]. Family Connections: Brother to Arthur William Leeks of Long Melford [b1884], Hardy Edmund Leeks [b1886], Albert Leeks [b1889] and Fred Leeks [b1893]; also, uncle of John Hilton Leeks [b1921]. Home: Horsehair Factory, The Street, Lawshall (1901), Back Meadow, Smaley Lane, Long Melford (1911), Britannia Barracks, Prince of Wales Road, Norwich, Norfolk (1921), 22 Girling Street, Sudbury (1936). Occupation: Baker and Delivery Man [1923 to 1934]. Married: Ellen May Matthews in 1930. Service Record: Walter was conscripted on 12.7.1916 as Pte.27479 with the Norfolk Regiment, being mobilised on 19.2.1917 and joining the unit’s 3rd [Reserve] Battalion.  Following a brief spell with 8th [Service] Battalion he was transferred to 1st Norfolks on 19.10.1917 at that time stationed in France before being posted to Italy only weeks later as part of 15th Brigade, 5th Division.  Their time on the river Piave was short-lived being rushed back to the Western Front in April to help stem the mayhem being wrought by the German Spring Offensive.  By the summer of 1918 the pendulum had swung in the Allies favour with the Division fighting successful actions at the Second Battle of the Somme and against the Hindenburg Line leading to the Final Advance in Picardy in late October.  Following the Armistice Walter appears to have stayed on in France, transferring as Pte.48115 to 15th Battalion, Essex Regiment in March 1919, before his discharge in August.[24]  He immediately re-enlisted as Pte.5765677 with the Norfolk Regiment, serving with them until his final discharge in September 1922.  Died: Sudbury, Suffolk on 4.8.1936.[25]

Leeks, William Robert – Born: Clerkenwell, London on 24.10.1871.[26] Parents: Walter Leeks [né Lee] of Long Melford (Paperhanger) and Lucy [née Clarke]. Family Connections: Brother to Frederick Charles Leeks [b1871].  Home: 43 Bowling Green Lane, Clerkenwell, London (1881 to 1901), 220 Arlington Road, Camden, London [1916]. Occupation: Moulder (1891), General Labourer (1901), Railway Porter at St Pancras Station [1916].[27] Service Record: William was conscripted on 20.4.1916 as Pte.G/29405 with the Royal Fusiliers, transferred as Pte.G/28780 to 5th [Infantry Works] Battalion, Middlesex Regiment. He was issued with a Silver War Badge on 13.12.1916 and discharged due to sickness.[28] Died: Holborn, London in 1935.

Notes – [1] Date of birth from the 1939 Register for Long Melford. [2] Marriage Register 22.5.1916, Holy Trinity Church, Long Melford. [3] For details of the action see 1/4th Suffolk’s War Diary [WO 95/2427/2] and Murphy, Lieutenant-Colonel C. C. R. The History of the Suffolk Regiment 1914-1927 [London: Hutchinson and Co, 1928], pp.226-27.  See also his Service Medal and Award Rolls, First World War, Silver War Badge [WO 329] record [ref: 345949], Soldiers’ Documents, First World War ‘Burnt Documents’ [WO 363], Service Medal and Award Rolls 1914-1918 [WO 329], and Service Medal and Award Rolls Index Cards 1914-1922 [WO 372]. [4] Date of death from the National Probate Calendar. [5] Date of birth from the Baptism Register 5.7.1874, Holy Trinity Church, Long Melford. [6] My thanks to Tim Seppings of Sudbury for showing Alfred’s connection to the Melford Silver Band. [7] For notification of his wounding see Suffolk and Essex Free Press 30.5.1917.  See also his Service Medal and Award Rolls 1914-1918 [WO 329] and Service Medal and Award Rolls Index Cards 1914-1922 [WO 372]. [8] Date of death from the National Probate Calendar. [9] Date of birth from the Baptism Register 5.10.1884, Holy Trinity Church, Long Melford, verified by the 1939 Register. [10] Spouse’s name taken from the 1939 Register for Fulham, London, however no definitive marriage record has been found. [11] For details of 9th Suffolk’s movements see War Diary [WO 95/1625/1] and Murphy, Lieutenant-Colonel C. C. R. The History of the Suffolk Regiment 1914-1927 [London: Hutchinson and Co, 1928], pp.120-26, 194-99 and 243-49.  See also his Service Medal and Award Rolls 1914-1918 [WO 329] and Service Medal and Award Rolls Index Cards 1914-1922 [WO 372]. [12] I am grateful to Colin Scrivener, the son-in-law of Walter Leeks, for generously sharing his research on the Leeks family. [13] Month of birth from the Baptism Register 15.10.1893, All Saints Church, Lawshall, Suffolk.  Date of birth from the 1939 Register for the Borough of Harwich in Essex. [14] See the entry for Bertie John Allen [b1886] for an account of the Suffolk’s first days after stepping ashore in Gallipoli and that of Frederick John East [b1896] for an account of the storming of Observation Hill during the Battle of Sharon.  For details of 1/5th Suffolk’s movements in Gallipoli also see War Diary [WO 95/4325] and Service Medal and Award Rolls, Capt. A. Fair [MC] and Capt. E. D. Wolton [compiled by] “The Suffolk Regiment”: the history of the 1/5th Battalion [London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1923] pp.13-37. [15] For the campaign in Palestine see the Battalion’s War Diary [WO 95/4658] and Service Medal and Award Rolls, Fair and Wolton pp.53-107.  See also his Service Medal and Award Rolls 1914-1918 [WO 329] and Service Medal and Award Rolls Index Cards 1914-1922 [WO 372]. [16] Date of death from the National Probate Calendar.  I am grateful to Colin Scrivener, the son-in-law of Walter Leeks, for generously sharing his research on the Leeks family. [17] 1939 Register. [18] Soldiers’ Documents and Pension Claims, First World War [WO 364], Silver War Badge [WO 329] [ref: 24721], and Medal Index Card [WO 372]. [19] Date of birth from the Baptism Register 1.8.1886, Holy Trinity Church, Long Melford. [20] For the notice of his Military Medal see the Supplement to the London Gazette 16.8.1917, p.8422.  For 2nd Suffolk’s involvement during the campaigns of 1916 and 1917 see War Diary [WO 95/1437/1] and Murphy, Lieutenant-Colonel C. C. R. The History of the Suffolk Regiment 1914-1927 [London: Hutchinson and Co, 1928], pp.182-89 and 219-28.  See also his Soldiers’ Documents, First World War ‘Burnt Documents’ [WO 363], Service Medal and Award Rolls 1914-1918 [WO 329], and Service Medal and Award Rolls Index Cards 1914-1922 [WO 372]. [21] Date of death from the National Probate Calendar. [22] 1939 Register. [23] Royal Engineers 1900-1949 Records. [24] For details of 1st Norfolks movements in 1918 and 1919 see War Diary [WO 97/1573/1-2].  See also his Service Medal and Award Rolls 1914-1918 [WO 329] and Service Medal and Award Rolls Index Cards 1914-1922 [WO 372]. [25] I am extremely grateful to Colin Scrivener for generously sharing his research on his father-in-law Walter Leeks and on which I have based my findings in the main text.  Date of death from the National Probate Calendar. [26] 1939 Register. [27] National Union of Railwaymen, General Register [ref: 127/NU/OR/2/46]. [28] Soldiers’ Documents, First World War ‘Burnt Documents’ [WO 363], Silver War Badge [ref: 114657] [WO 329], and Medal Index Card [WO 372].

Genealogical Tables

Research by David Gevaux MA © 2023
error: Content is protected !!