John Leah, Private 290653, 1/7th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment
Killed in action 25th October 1918 in Belgium, aged 23
John (Jack) Leah was born in Macclesfield on 11 April 1895, the eldest son of Sarah Ellen (nee Eaton) and Robert Leah, a tavern keeper.
In 1901, six-year-old John was living at the Crown Hotel, 76 Bond Street, Macclesfield with his parents and siblings Emma (28), Martha (22), Alice (19), Nellie (17), Annie (15), Amy (12), Ethel (8) and Norman (4). John’s father died in 1906 and by 1911, John was living with his siblings and widowed mother at the same address; aged 15, he had left school and was employed as an office boy at the Royal Silk Warehouse. His mother died later that year.
John was educated first at St John’s School and later at St George’s School.
John Leah joined the local 7th Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment with service number 2587 (later renumbered to 290653).
The death of Private John Leah was reported in the Macclesfield Times on 15 November 1918:
PTE JOHN LEAH, Crown Inn, Bond Street, Macclesfield, was killed in France a few days after he had returned from leave. In civil life he was employed by Mr Robinson Brown, Royal Silk Warehouse, and attended the Macclesfield Sunday School. A younger brother, Pte Norman Leah, fell in June 1917.
Private John Leah is buried at Tournai Communal Cemetery Allied Extension, Hainaut, Belgium, in Grave Ref. V. A. 8. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private John Leah, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
In Macclesfield, Private John Leah is commemorated on the Park Green, Town Hall, St Michael’s Church and Macclesfield Sunday School war memorials. He is also remembered on a family gravestone in Macclesfield Cemetery at plot number Z.19034.
Brother of Norman Leah, who served as Private 22347 with the 11th Battalion, South Lancashire Regt and died on 12 June 1917 near Ypres, Belgium.
GRO (England & Wales) Index: Births
Census (England & Wales): 1901, 1911
National School Admission Registers and Log-books (Find My Past)
Lives of the First World War website
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Macclesfield Times: 15 November 1918