Research and text by Brian Bouchard
The marriage of Thomas James Leavey to Annie Augusta Hurst, 18 October 1879, was registered at Westhampnett, West Sussex, for the December Quarter of 1879. Their first-born son Thomas James Leavey came to be born on 18 July 1880 and he was brought to be baptised at St Mary and St Nicholas, Leatherhead, 21 October1880. His father was a Master Tailor then in business at 31 Church Street, Leatherhead.
The younger Thomas grew up to follow in his father’s footsteps and train as an apprentice tailor. He also entered military service with the 2nd Volunteer Battalion East Surrey Regiment – H Company 5th (Territorial Force) Battalion, East Surrey Regiment, which had a drill hall in Hawthorne Place, off East Street, Epsom.
After the University and Public Schools Men’s Force came to Epsom, he enlisted on 14 November 1914 to be assigned to the third Battalion, 20th Royal Fusilers, which had been billeted on Leatherhead, with as Service Number PS/6013. Thomas was described as 6 feet tall with a chest measurement of 35 inches – Fresh complexion, grey eyes & brown hair. His age, experience, and the fact that he was qualified as a Master Tailor seems to explain why he was immediately given the rank of Sergeant.
He was transferred to the depot of 29th Royal Fusiliers, a reserve Battalion training recruits as replacements for the 20th and 21st Battalions, presumably involved in fitting them with new uniforms.
His marriage to Ruth Gladys Ellis is recorded at Warwick, June 1916. She resided at 31 Compton Street, Warwick.
On 31 August 1916 Thomas moved on to 105th Training Reserve Battalion, Edinburgh, with a fresh Service Number 324360. Transfers to 458th and 459th Home Service Employment Companies occurred in 1917 – on 1 November in that year he was based at Catterick.
In March 1918 Thomas was referred for a medical assessment at the Labour Centre, Ripon, and found to be suffering from ‘Pes Cavus’, commonly known as claw foot ( a deformity of the foot which has a very high arch and is relatively stiff). He was unable to wear regulation boots, could not march and had not been in active service. On 31 March 1918 he was discharged under Para 392 XVI King’s Regulations as physically unfit fot War Service. Under Army Order 29/1919 he was awarded Silver War Badge No. B123451 for his sickness.
Thomas James Leavey of 91 Willes Road, Leamington Spa, died on 27 February 1945 at the Central Hospital, Warwick. His relict Ruth Gladys Leavey lived on until 1954.