|Memorial .||Harlebeke New British Cemetery||I. A. 13.|
Awards & Titles:
LEETE, Sydney John Second Lieutenant Royal Flying Corps, formerly Worcestershire Regiment. Killed In Action, France & Flanders, 28 July 1917 Age 24. Second Lieutenant Leete was the son of Joseph and Catherine Leete and was born on 8 June 1893 at home in Woodford. It’s not clear when the family moved to Wickford but they are residents of ‘Hurtscroft’ Wickford by the time he enlists on 21 August 1914, in the 13th reserve cavalry regiment at Scarborough, his occupation by this time is shown as a poultry farmer. After the war his father became Vice Chairman of fund raising for the Wickford War Memorial. Leete made a rapid rise through the ranks being made a Corporal on 24 August 1914 before gaining his commission on 9 May 1915 and then joining the Worcestershire Regiment. He arrived in France on 25 May 1916 with the 8/Worcesters and whilst serving with the 2/8 Worcesters, he was wounded whilst on a fighting patrol trying to enter the German trenches on the night of 6/7 September 1916, near Neuve Chapelle. He transferred to the Royal Flying Corps where his first posting is shown on 10 April 1917 as being at Reading, probably with No. 1 School of Aeronautics. A period at the No.1 School of Aerial Gunnery was followed by a brief period in hospital from where he was discharged on 22 June 1917. He was posted back to France and joined 57 Squadron on 29 June 1917. Throughout July he took part in operations that included bombing and photographic reconnaisance. On 27 July, Leete was involved in a bombing raid on the Passchendaele Ridge when they were attacked by a number of enemy aircraft, Leete claimed one destroyed after seeing his bullets hit it and the wing collapse, his regular pilot Lieutenant Irwin, was slightly wounded in the action. The following day with Leete’s pilot wounded he teamed up with Lieutenant Minot MC, whose observer had been wounded in the previous day’s action as well. They took off along with five other aircraft from Boisdinghem at 1615 in DH4 bomber A7540, which was a presentation aircraft named ‘Bombay 2’, briefed to attack the enemy airfields at Heule and Inglemunster. It is believed they were intercepted by German Albatross aircraft of Jasta 6 at 1755 and were last seen chasing a German machine towards the ground, it is believed they were shot down by Leutenant Adam and then crashed near Oosroosebeke. Leete and his pilot are today buried side by side. He is commemorated on the Wickford War Memorial, St Catherines Church Memorial and Wickford Royal British Legion Roll of Honour. A large memorial to Sydney Leete also stands in Wickford Churchyard complete with RFC Wings Source; Steve Newman - 'Wickford's Heroes' - The Wickford and Runwell Roll of Honour Book and Simon Fielding
Unit : 57th Sqdn.
31 July - 10 November 1917. By the summer of 1917 the British Army was able for the first time to fight on its chosen ground on its terms. Having secured the southern ridges of Ypres at Messines in June, the main attack started on 31st July 1917 accompanied by what seemed like incessant heavy rain, which coupled with the artillery barrages conspired to turn much of the battlefield into a bog. Initial failure prompted changes in the high command and a strategy evolved to take the ring of ridges running across the Ypres salient in a series of 'bite and hold' operations, finally culminating in the capture of the most easterly ridge on which sat the infamous village of Passchendaele. The Official History carries the footnote ?The clerk power to investigate the exact losses was not available? but estimates of British casualties range from the official figure of 244,000 to almost 400,000. Within five months the Germans pushed the British back to the starting line, which was where they had been since May 1915.
|Type||Lodge Name and No.||Province/District :|
|Mother :||Cornish No. 2369 E.C.||London|
The project globally acknowledges the following as sources of information for research across the whole database:
- The Commonwealth War Graves Commission
- The (UK) National Archives
- Ancestry.co.uk - Genealogy, Family Trees & Family History online
- ugle.org.uk - The records of the United Grand Lodge of England including the Library and Museum of Freemasonry
- Book : 1921 - Masonic Roll of Honour 1914-1918 - Oxford University Press
- Document : 1933 - Masonic Roll of Honour - Freemasons' Hall Vestibule - United Grand Lodge of England