In 2018, at one of the Friday drop-in sessions we held at Longcauseway Church, we were visited by a gentleman who brought some artwork and a sketchbook which his elderly neighbour had given him, saying that she had been in possession of them for many years, but she was not related to the artist.
To our surprise and great joy the signatures on these works were those of Luke Clegg Leadbeater, whom we recognised instantly as one of the men whom we had researched and who sadly died in World War 1.
Luke Clegg Leadbeater
1898 – 1917
Luke was born in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1898. His father was also Luke Leadbeater, a Dyer and later a Template Maker at an Ordnance Works, born in Gomersal in 1864 and died in 1899. His mother was Sarah Elizabeth (nee Clegg) born in Staincliffe, Batley in 1864 and died in 1917. They were married in 1885.
All their children were born in Newcastle. They were; William Henry, born in 1887 and died 1901, Ann, born in 1891, Olive, born in 1893 and Lily, born in 1896 and died in 1910.
Sarah was remarried in Newcastle in 1901 to Fred Rowbottom (born in Kirkheaton in 1875 and died in 1953) they had a daughter Elizabeth, born in 1901 and died in 1902.
On the 1901 Census the family lived at 15, Elswick Road, Newcastle and in 1911 at Back Fern Royd, Huddersfield Road, Dewsbury.
Luke was unmarried but had a fiancée. He attended Ravensthorpe United Methodist Church and Sunday school. He was employed by Messrs Jas Smith and Sons as a Glazer.
He was also a very talented artist and attended Dewsbury School of Art where his works were featured in exhibitions and received merit awards.
He enlisted on February 14th1917 serving as Private 26576 in the 1st/5th Duke of Wellingtons (West Riding Regiment) and was sent to the Western Front on 11th October 1917. He was killed in action on 22nd November 1917 at Zonnebeke near Ypres during the Battle of Passchendaele and was buried in the field. In 1919 his remains were reburied in Aeroplane Cemetery, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. Luke was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
His lifelong friend George Ledgard was killed at Cambrai the following day. They had both attended the same Church, Sunday school and both had worked at Jas Smiths. Lance Corporal Arthur Sheard wrote to Luke’s fiancée Sarah giving the details of his death; he had been sheltering in a dug-out in the trenches when a shell came over killing him and another soldier.
Luke is commemorated on the Dewsbury Cenotaph in Crow Nest Park and in the Dewsbury Roll of Honour kept in Dewsbury Central Library and on the Ravensthorpe War Memorial in St. Saviours Church and on the Memorial Plaque in the porch of the now closed St. Matthew’s Church, Westtown.
Headstone photograph by courtesy of Ms. Danielle Roubroeks, Antwerp, Belgium.