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Private Joseph Leach

Civilian Occupation: Common Bank Bleachworks

leach1 leach-text

Joseph Leach was 22 when he died on the Somme on 26/9/1916.

His sacrifice is recalled at THIEPVAL MEMORIAL and he is recorded in the Chorley Memorial Album in Astley Hall on page CMB/II/28a.  He attended Sacred Heart, Chorley.

Notes of his life and service include:

Enlisted July, 1915, and served in France. Took part in the Battles in the Somme region, and was wounded in July, 1916, whilst rescuing his Officer in a desperate fight. Killed 26th September 1916. Attended Church of the Sacred Heart.

The CWGC gives him as the son of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Leach, of 13 Leigh Row, Chorley, Lancs. The Chorley Guardian photograph of 28/7/1917 and article of 21/10/1916 differs giving age 23, adding occupation and agreeing address.

The Register of Soldiers’ Effects gives his pesumed date of death as 26/9/1917. His father, Edward, is given as next of kin. This may well be his grandfather.

1911 Census has him at 13 Leigh Row: Edward Leach (60, Corporation Labourer, Road Making, Borough Council, Born in Wigan), Sarah Leach (59, Wife, Housekeeper, At Home, Married 40 years, 10 children, 8 living, 2 dead, Born in Mawdesley), Agnes (20, Daughter, Cotton Weaver, Born in Chorley), Joseph Leach (17, Grandson’ Labourer in Bleachworks) and Richard Leach (17, Son), Henry Catterall (17, Boarder, Drawer in Coal Mine, Underground).

The Mr and Mrs Edward Leach referred to by the CWGC may be his grandparents rather than his parents. Joseph Leach’s birth was registered in Chorley in 1894. His mother’s maiden name was Leach, suggesting a possible illegitimate birth.

1901 Census has him at 13 Leigh Row: Edward Leach (52, Labourer, Night Soil, Born in Wigan), Sarah Leach (49, Wife, Born in Mawdesley), Mary (20, Daughter, Cotton Creeler, Born in Chorley), Margaret (18, Daughter, Cotton Weaver, Born in Chorley), Annie Leach (15, Daughter, Born in Chorley) Edward Leach (13, Son, Cotton Weaver, Born in Chorley) , Agnes Leach (10, Daughter, Born in Chorley), Joseph Leach (7, Grandson, Born in Chorley) and Richard Leach (7, Son, Born in Chorley).

1891 Census for this family gives the household at 34 Leigh Street as:  Edward Leach (41, General Labourer, Born in Wigan), Sarah Leach (39, Card Room Hand, Born in Mawdesley), Sarah E Leach (19, Cotton Weaver, Born in Chorley), Catherine Leach (13, Cotton Weaver, Born in Chorley), Mary Leach (10, Scholar, Born in Chorley), Margaret E Leach (8, Scholar, Born in Chorley), Annie Leach (5, Scholar, Born in Chorley), Edward (3, Son, Born in Chorley), Agnes Leach (7 months, Daughter, Born in Chorley), John Leach (40, Lodger, General Labourer, Born in Chorley).

In the absence of other sons, the parentage of Joseph Leigh in the 1901 Census is unclear.

Rank: Private
Service No: 21593
Date of Death: 26/09/1916
Age: 22
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st Bn.

Adam Cree
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