The Cheshire Regiment at Mons.
Leonard was clearly an excellent soldier, but like many, also liked a good time. By January 1915 he was back in England. On the 21st January 1915, he was caught in Swindon Town centre 'without a pass' and clearly not happy when caught and charged with 'Improper Conduct', so he added 'Using Obscene Language' to his charge sheet. He was fined 8 days of pay.
Leonard clearly liked a drink, and on the 9th May 1915, Leonard was waiting punishment for a case of drunkenness when again found to be drunk for a second time. He was just given a slap on the wrists and asked to behave.
In July 1915, Leonard travelled from Devonport to Gallipoli where he landed on the 9 August 1915. On the 12th December and with Christmas fast approaching, he was found drunk again and this time fined four days pay. And on the 1st February 1916, Leonard was once again fined 7 days pay, this time for misconduct.
We should not be too quick to judge Leonard's behaviour and just see him as 'going off the rails'. Given the battles Leonard had been involved in, we would today see his behaviour as a form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It wasn't even seen as a medical condition in 1916. In 1914 he was just 19 years old, seen and experienced horrors no young developing mind should witness, no councillors to talk too except advice that would be similar too 'just get on with it'.
Up to the First Battle of Ypres, Leonard was a model soldier. As the author of this website, it was tempting to omit Leonard's conduct sheet, but rather than attempting to erase history, I would rightly try and explain it.
'Had it not been for the rum ration, I do not think we should have won the war'. Before the men went over the top they had a good meal and a double ration of rum and coffee.”
campaign, also known as the Dardanelles campaign, the Battle of
Gallipoli or the Battle of Çanakkale (Turkish: Çanakkale Savaşı), was a
military campaign in the First World War that took place on the
Gallipoli peninsula (Gelibolu in modern Turkey), from 17 February 1915
until the 9 January 1916. The Entente powers, Britain, France and
Russia, sought to weaken the Ottoman Empire, one of the Central Powers,
by taking control of the straits that provided a supply route to the
the 22nd September 1915, Leonard was admitted to Hospital suffering
from severe vomiting. And again admitted to Hospital on the 13th October
1915 with Malaria.
This new employment didn't last long, and on the 29th January 1917 he was asked to attend a Medical Board. The Medical Board certified Leonard fit for active duty and sent back to France.
On the 17th July 1918, Leonard was again back in France, and in August 1918 Leonard moved to Belgium.
At the start of September 1918, the end of the First World War was just nine weeks away. Germany was now in full retreat and to ensure final victory, the Allies pressed ahead with their numerical advantage.
For Leonard White, a veteran from the start of the war, wounded twice, hospitalised twice with illness, fought in France, Belgium, Iraq and Turkey, he must have felt he was close to finally going home for good, and he was still only 23 years of age.
On the 4th September 1918, Leonard White was seen to be killed in action. However, his body was never recovered and given a rightful funeral. Leonard is remembered with honour at Tyne Cot Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery and Memorial to the Missing.
Leonard was never married.