Arthur G. Leeson posed special difficulties for this project. All the usual sources — draft card registration records, Army transport records, WWI military death lists, and the like — turned up nothing. I did find the draft card for an Arthur J. Leeson, but he lived in Illinois at the time of his registration. The only item I found relating to Arthur G. Leeson’s military service and sacrifice turned up in a brief article in The Wallace Miner of August 28, 1919 (shown left). It announced the publication of a memorial edition of the Bunker Bullion, an inhouse publication at the Bunker Hill & Sullivan Mining Co., listing the names of company employees who had lost their lives during the recently concluded war. (It’s notable, incidentally, that of the 17 names the article listed only one, a C.B. Bussell, did not also appear on the War Mothers Plaque in Wallace.) With only this source in hand, I emailed Francie Lane, who lives in Northern California but grew up in Wallace, for help. Francie soon responded with a much more informative account of Arthur Gerald Leeson, including why my searches had come up with so little — he served in Canada’s, not America’s, WWI expeditionary forces. The following summarizes what she kindly sent. (Once again, many thanks, Francie!)
Arthur Gerald Leeson very likely immigrated from England; lived in Alaska for a short time; and had a wife and children in Danville, Contra Costa County, California. His Canadian military papers indicated his occupation as a mining assayer.
Leeson was born at Blackheath, near London, England, on August 24, 1870. He emigrated to USA from White Horse, Yukon Territory, Canada on the White Pass & Yukon Railroad. On August 17, 1908, he filed “Declaration of Intention” for U.S. Citizenship, stating he was 37 years old (although on that date he would have been a week away from his 39th birthday); his occupation, “Miner & Millman.” He described himself as having a ruddy complexion, six feet tall, 170 pounds, dark brown hair, and gray eyes. He was currently residing in Treadwell, Alaska, having arrived at Skagway in the District of Alaska on July 15, 1907.
102nd Infantry Battalion’s patch, C.E.F.
The U.S. Census of 1910 shows Arthur Leeson residing in Seattle, age 39, with a wife, Adelaide, age 34, and a son Meldon, age 13 months. The Harvard University alumni records for 1918 show an Adelaide (Marquand) wed Arthur Gerald Leeson on January 1, 1908. This source lists Adelaide and Arthur with two children: [Meldon] Gerald Leeson, born January 3, 1909; and Catherine Constance Leeson, born February 29, 1912.
On February 24, 1916, Arthur Gerald Leeson filed an Attestation Paper (#704076) — that is, a document similar to our draft registration cards in the U.S. — for the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force. He would have been 46-years-old on the date he filled out this document. His application stated his current address was Rossland, British Columbia. His next of kin was wife Adelaide Leeson of Danville. His birth year, 1870, his “trade or calling,” “Assayer & Miner,” comport with records already mentioned. He stated he had previously served in the Royal Northwest Mounted Police, five years as a constable and three years as a corporal. He agreed to serve in the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force and to serve in any of its arms. His term of service would be for one year or longer if the war lasted longer; he also agreed to serve for six months after the war’s termination or until “His Majesty should no longer require his services.” Leeson swore an oath of allegiance to His Majesty King George the Fifth, etc., etc. and completed his enlistment at Rossland, BC. He was assigned to the 102nd Battalion, C.E.F.
The Canada War Graves Registers, 1914-1948, lists Corporal Arthur Gerald Leeson of the 102nd Battalion as having been killed in action on October 21, 1916 in an attack north of Courcelette in northern France. He was listed as a member of the Church of Christian Science. The United Kingdom’s UK DeRuvigny’s Roll of Honour, 1914-1919, provides the following tribute:
LEESON, ARTHUR GERALD, Corpl., 102nd Infantry Battn. Canadian Expeditionary Force, only son of the late Arthur Edmund Leeson, M. A., M. D. by his wife, Alice, dau. of James Fraser; b. Blackheath, London, S.E.; 24 Aug. 1870; educ. Merchant Taylors’ School; went to Canada in 1895 where for eight years he was in the North West Mounted Police; subsequently became a Mining Engineer and went to U.S.A.; enlisted in the Canadian Infantry in March, 1916; served with the Expeditionary Force in France and Flanders, and was killed in action on the Somme, 21 Oct., 1916, during the attack on Regina Trench. Buried where he fell. His Captain wrote: “I have lost a most efficient non-commissioned officer”.
Francie noted in closing that Adelaide Leeson was listed in the 1925 City Directory of Oakland, California; she was described as an “Artist,” living at 1525 Walnut (which I note is actually a street address in a residential part of Berkeley’s Northside).