Army Service Corps, Belgium, Cranmore Road, France, George Playford, Great Western Railway, Great Western Railway Company, Haden Hill, Horsman Street, India, James Leedham, London and North Western Railway, Midland Counties Express, Norfolk Regiment, Royal Army Medical Corps, Royal Field Artillery, Shropshire, South Africa, Wolverhampton Council
The Midland Counties Express of 4 December 1915 shows the photographs of the three sons and a son-in-law of Mrs Leadham of 5 Horsman Street, Wolverhampton, all serving with the colours:
- James (35) who served in the South African War and was now serving with the Royal Field Artillery
- Francis (24), with the Motor Transport in France
- Henry (21) with the Royal Army Medical Corps in France
- The son-in-law is not named, but was serving with the Norfolks in India
In fact, their surname was actually “Leedham”. In 1901, the family were at 183 Cranmore Road, Wolverhampton, and the household consisted of parents James and Jane, sons Charlie, John, Francis and Henry, and daughters Ellen and Millicent E. By 1911 they were living at 39 Haden Hill, Wolverhampton, in 1911, by which date Charlie was no longer living with them, and they had been joined by James Thomas.
James was born in Shifnal, Shropshire, in 1880. Presumably he did not appear with his family in the 1901 census as he was serving in South Africa. In 1911, he was a tram conductor for Wolverhampton Corporation. He married Alice Scott in Wolverhampton in 1911, and the couple had two children, Dorothy A. (1912) and James G. (1913). James served with the 298th Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery (number 676959) and rose to the rank of Corporal. However, he died of wounds on 29 September 1917. He is buried at the Vlamertinghe New Military Cemetery in Belgium.
Francis was born in Wolverhampton in 1891. He was a Railway Porter in 1911. The Railway Employment records for the Great Western Railway show that he was working at Windmill End Station from February 1911, transferring to Wednesbury Station in May 1911. He resigned in August 1912. From 26 August 1914, he served as a Private with the Army Service Corps (service number MT/3721). Francis survived the war, and married Annie Cooper in Wolverhampton in 1928. The couple had at least two children – Francis (1928) and June (1930). There were a further three children with the surname Leedham and mother’s maiden name of Cooper born in Sutton Coldfield, between 1942 and 1952, so they may have moved and had further children. I have been unable to confirm further details.
Henry was born in Wolverhampton on 17 May 1894. He was a horse keeper for the railway in 1911. From March 1913, he was working as a cleaner for the London and North Western Railway. I have not been able to confirm details of Henry’s military service, but he certainly survived the war. When he returned from the war, he carried on working for the railway, both as a cleaner and later as a Fireman.
The son-in-law is presumably George A. Playford, who married the brothers’ older sister, Louisa, in Wolverhampton in 1915. However, I have been unable to confirm further details.