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Memorials & Monuments
on the Isle of Wight
- Biography -
- John Thomas Leitch -

Unknown person Name : John Thomas Leitch

Son of Richard Leitch and Elizabeth Leitch (née Rees), of Bristol. (They subsequently lived in Ventnor).

Born 1882, Bristol.

Married 29 September 1904, Hettie Ethel Bull (registered Sep 1904 qtr, Steyning).

Children : Hilda Florence (born 31 July 1905, Shanklin); Clifford John (born 8 September 1906, Shanklin); Ronald (born 1 July 1917 Southampton).
  Census information :

1891 : Richard Leitch, married, aged 31, is a Boarder with the Russell family at 24 Albert Street, Ventnor. Richard Leitch is a Shoemaker.

1891 : (John Leitch not located)

1901 : John T Leitch, single, aged 18, is Head of household, with a sister, cousin and boarder, at Christchurch Road, Pokesdown, Hampshire. John Leitch is a Boot Maker.

1911 : John Thomas and Hettie Ethel Leitch, with their children are at 350 Portswood Road, Southampton. John Thomas Leitch is a Boot Repairer.

1911 : Richard and Elizabeth Leitch, with various family members, are at "Avondale", Clarence Road, Ventnor.
  Service Details :

Sergeant 144529 John Thomas Leitch, Army Service Corps (Remount Depot)

Attested for service 11 December 1915, at Southampton, aged "40 years and 132 days" [sic]. He was 5 ft 10½ in tall, and his medical assessment is marked "Fit for service as a Bootmaker at Remount Depot".

On his Army Pension papers, the following next of kin are given :

Father : Richard Leitch, of 2 Pier Street, Ventnor
Mother : Elizabeth Leitch, of 2 Pier Street, Ventnor
Widow : Hettie Elizabeth Leitch, of "White Knights", Grosvenor Road, Southampton
Children : Hilda Florence, Clifford John, Ronald [dates of birth as above]
Sister : Florence Keddel, aged 39, of 297½ Brighton St, Halifax, Canada
Sister : Lily M Du Feu, aged 35, of "Winton", Clarence Rd, Ventnor
Sister : Violet Leitch, aged 20, of 2 Pier Street, Ventnor

His Memorial Scroll was sent to Mrs H E Leitch at "White Knights", Grosvenor Road, Southampton, this address being amended later to 2 Pier Street, Ventnor, IoW.

The widow's pension awarded to Mrs Leitch gives her address in 1920 as 2 Windsor Terrace, Dudley Road, Ventnor, Isle of Wight.
  Casualty Details :

Died : 21 September 1919, aged 37, at Royal Victoria Hospital, Netley, Southampton.

Buried at : Ventnor Cemetery, Isle of Wight

CWGC record ...
  Commemorated on these Memorials :

John Thomas Leitch is not commemorated on any Isle of Wight War Memorials.
  Documents and Newspaper cuttings :


Friday, March 19, 1915 Page 5

MR. TOM LEITCH (son of Councillor Leitch) was a contributor to the programme at a concert given on Wednesday at Southampton in aid of the Equipment Fund for the local Volunteer Training Corps. Mr. Leitch was in great form and gave "Calculation" and "The Wrong Number" with much appreciation and success.


Friday, September 26, 1919 Page 1

Deep sympathy has gone out this week to Mr. and Mrs. Leitch in the death of their only son, Mr. T. Leitch, who was brought up at Ventnor, and was well known here. He died at Netley Hospital, Southampton, on Saturday after lying seriously ill for several days. During the war Mr. Leitch served in the A.S.C., and held the rank of sergeant. The sincerest condolence will be extended to the widow, who is a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W.H. Bull, of Ventnor. Non-commissioned officers from deceased's company acted as bearers at the funeral at Ventnor on Wednesday.

Page 2

MRS. TOM LEITCH AND MR. AND MRS. R. LEITCH and family desire to express sincere thanks to their many friends for kind enquiries, and to acknowledge, with heartfelt gratitude, the wreaths and other floral tokens sent to the funeral.

Page 3

Death and Funeral of Mr. Tom Leitch.

It is with sincere regret that we announce the death of Mr. Tom Leitch, only son of Mr. Richard Leitch, one of our most respected District Councillors, and Mrs. Leitch. The sad event occurred at Netley Hospital on Sunday. Mr. Leitch had been suffering from pernicious anaemia for about two months. He was on holiday in Ventnor in the earlier part of the summer, and his many old friends in this town then noticed that he was looking far from well. Mr. Leitch had been a Sergeant in the A.S.C. since the beginning of the war, closing his business and joining up under the Kitchener scheme. He returned to Southampton after his holiday here to settle up his accounts, with the hope of again taking up his usual business. His illness, however, had made such progress that he collapsed, and was taken to Netley Hospital, where, after three weeks' treatment, he passed away. The news of his death was received with general feelings of sorrow and regret in Ventnor. Mr. Leitch leaves a widow and three young children. He was a singer and comedian of considerable ability and a member of the Albert Edward Lodge of Freemasons, Southampton.


took place at Ventnor on Wednesday. The body was removed from Netley Hospital to Southampton Pier on a gun carriage and with full military honours. The military party accompanying the carriage came on to Ventnor, and warrant officers and non-commissioned officers of the Remount Depot, Swaythling, acted as bearers. The Rev. N. Vickers was the officiating minister. The mourners were Mr. R. Leitch (father), Mr. W.H. Bull (father-in-law), Messrs. Wm. And C.N. Bull (brothers-in-law), Mr. A.F. Du Feu, senr., Mr. S. Du Feu, Mr. Archibald Perry (Bristol), Mr. F. Luck (Weybridge), Mr. Gould (Swaythling), and Quarter-Master Hidden (Swaythling Camp). There were several local friends at the graveside, including Mr. H. Hughes Oakes (Town Clerk), Mr. D.V. Howard (Surveyor), and Mr. A.G. Sharpe. Trumpet-Major Lee gave an impressive sounding of the "Last Post." Mr. Brading was the undertaker.
The coffin was enveloped in the Union Jack, with deceased's hat and bandolier on the cover. There was a large number of wreaths, &c., as follows: - (the list of wreaths has not been transcribed)


Friday, October 17, 1919 Page 1

Ventnor District Council
. . . The Chairman said it was his first duty to ask them to propose a vote of condolence with one of the members - he referred to Mr. Leitch - who had recently lost his son. It was not the first time that they had been called upon to perform a similar duty. Dr. Robertson and Mr. Brading had each lost a son during the war, and they were all very sorry that Mr. Leitch had had to suffer a similar bereavement. - The vote was passed in silence.


Friday, September 24, 1920 Page 2

LEITCH. - In ever loving remembrance of my dear husband, Sergt. T. Leitch, who died at Netley Hospital, September 21st, 1919. - Sadly missed.


Friday, June 2, 1939 Page 3

He Served Ventnor Well.
Mr. Richard Leitch's Services to the Town
We are sure we shall be echoing the cordial wishes of townspeople generally when we wish Mr. and Mrs. Richard Leitch, of Dudley Road, many happy returns of the day. It is 60 years ago to-day they were married. The service was solemnised at St. Phillip's Church, Bristol.
Mr. Leitch came to Ventnor in search of health. His life had been despaired of; in fact, the doctors gave him six months to live unless he could go to the Canary Islands or to Ventnor. And it was to Ventnor he came in 1889.
He started in business in a shop at the corner of Albert Street and Market Street, as a boot and shoe repairer. That was the only vacant shop at the time at all suitable for his requirements. After ten years that property changed hands, and Mr. Leitch induced Mr. H. Brown to build two shops on the opposite side of the street. Here Mr. Leitch remained for a further ten years, and then removed to larger and more imposing premises in Pier Street, where he combined a retail trade with boot and shoe repairing. He carried on an extensive business until about five years ago, when ill-health again seized him, this time the troublesome neuritis, and he was confined to his bed for seven months. The business was disposed of, and Mr. and Mrs. Leitch went into retirement. We are glad to say that to-day Mr. Leitch enjoys excellent health for his 80 years, and his good lady is also in fairly good health.
There were four children. Their only son Tom was killed in the war. He will be pleasantly remembered by many as Island manager for Keith Prowse Co. and Clifford Essex in connection with concert party work. One daughter is married and lives in Canada, and two other daughters, also married, are still living in Ventnor.
Mr. Leitch attributes his restored health to the invigorating air of St. Boniface Downs which he visited practically every day. Then, in gratitude for what the town had done for him, he sought ways in which he could serve it. He became a member of the District Council, and served Ventnor enthusiastically for upwards of 20 years. He was a member of the four principal committees of those days, but his outstanding work was done as Chairman of the Pier Committee. In this position he was the prime mover in connection with the various concert parties engaged during the summer seasons for the Pier Pavilion. He was the protagonist in favour of roller skating, which proved a tremendous attraction in those days, and his advocacy of steamboat excursions on Sundays will recall the strenuous fights that took place. For this innovation he did not secure the acquiescence of the electors at his first essay, and he had a strong and successful opponent in Mr. George Barfoot. But Mr. Leitch persevered and it was not long before he had the support of the majority of the townspeople. And the Sunday steamboat excursions have continued to this day.
He will also be remembered for his promotion of torchlight processions in celebration, first of the relief of Ladysmith and shortly afterwards of Mafeking, the town celebrations winding up with a successful banquet. Other activities of his which are remembered were a series of hoop parades for children during the season, gymkhanas, his great participation in the annual regattas, and those popular walking matches which took place on Coronation Day. Silver cups were generously provided by Mr. A.J. Sharpe, J.P., one for men in a walk of fifteen miles and the other for boys over a six miles course. The foregoing are but a few of the ways in which Mr. Leitch served the town which had brought back to him health and strength, and in the carrying out of which he proved himself such a worthy citizen.
At the time of his retirement from the District Council, his colleagues presented him with a silver inkstand suitably inscribed, and the officers of the Council gave him a framed illuminated address.
Mr. Leitch served his fellows in another capacity, for in 1907 he was the Provincial Grand Primo of the R.A.O.B. in the Island, and in that exalted office had the pleasure of attending several banquets with Lord Alverstone, formerly Sir Richard Webster, for many years M.P. for the Island.
And now in the eventide of their years, Mr. and Mrs. Leitch are living very quietly and comfortably in their home in Dudley Road, enjoying the love of their children, the esteem of their many friends and the gratitude of the townspeople, all of whom will unite with us in wishing them a continuance of good health as long as life lasts.
  Further Information :

Netley Hospital Wikipedia article

Keith Prowse

Clifford Essex

  Acknowledgments :

Janet Griffin for newspaper research
  Page status :
Page last updated : 2 December 2013 (added further newspaper report on Diamond wedding of his parents)


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