Date of birth: 16th December 1888
Place of birth: Hackney, London
Service No.: 422235
Regiment / Division: Central Ontario Regiment/Canadian Infantry
Battalion: 44th (as Private) and 3rd Battalion
Died: 11th August 1918 aged 29 years
Death Location: France
Before the War
Leonard was born on 16th December 1888 to George (1862 – 24/06/1927) and Sophia Jane Gouldsmith (nee Smith 1862 – 30/08/1954). On his Canadian Attestation Papers, Leonard stated his date of birth was 16th December 1890. He was baptized in the parish of Hackney on 10th March 1889 and these baptism papers show his birth date. His parents were married in Hackney on 8th September1886. At the time of their marriage George was working as a hairdresser. His father Edward, Leonard’s grandfather, died two years earlier in 1884.
Leonard’s siblings were:
George Alfred (1887)
Maria Louise (1897)
Albert Ernest (1898)
William John (1907)
On 1891 Census Leonard is living with his mother, and brother, George, and his mother’s parents, Alfred and Dinah Smith, at 188 Mare Street, Hackney, London. The occupation of his grandfather is a Bird Naturalist. Leonard’s aunt Emma is also living there and she is a Dressmaker.
On 1901 Census Leonard is living with his mother, brothers George and Albert and sister Maria, at 52 Romsey Road, Shirley, Southampton. Also at this address is his aunt Emma and his grandmother, Dinah. His grandfather Alfred is living at 81 Clarence Road, Hackney, London.
On 1911 Census Leonard is living with his parents and family at ‘The Rough’, Highclere Road, Bassett, Southampton. His father George owns his own laundry business.
Leonard sailed from London on 12th March 1914 aboard the S.S. Sicilian and arrived in St. John, New Brunswick, Canada on 29th March 1914.
Leonard enlisted as a Private in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, at WinnipegManitoba, on 25th March 1915 and was drafted to the 44th Battalion. On is Attestation Papers his next of kin is G Gouldsmith of Brandon House, St Winifred Road Southampton. This is his father. There is a probate dated 10th August 1927 for George at this address.
When he died Leonard was serving as a Lieutenant in the 3rd Battalion of the Canadian Infantry. He was killed in action on 11th August 1918 in France.
On his casualty papers it states “Killed in action” “At about 4.15 o’clock on the morning of August 11th, whilst in Company Headquarters in the vicinity of Beaufort, he was instantly killed by an enemy 5.9. shell, which struck the dugout causing numerous casualties”
He was awarded the Croix de Guerre (France) medal, the Military Medal First Bar and the Military Medal, as well as the British War medal and the Victory medal.
The Military Medal was awarded on 22nd July 1916:
“During the consolidation of the line on Mount Sorrel on 13th June 1916, a covering party was shot up and L/cpl Gouldsmith went out in the face of heavy rifle fire and brought in Pte Biddle who had been wounded. His distinguished bravery and conspicuous conduct, during the whole action was such as to inspire great confidence in his section”
This medal recognizes individual or associated acts of bravery on the recommendation of a Commander-in-Chief in the field.
The Croix de Guerre medal was awarded on 10th February 1917 and recognises acts of bravery in the face of the enemy specifically mentioned in despatches.
The First Bar to the Military Medal was awarded on 12th march 1917.
Leonard was originally buried in Beaufort British Cemetery 8 miles East of Moreuil, France. This cemetery was made after Beaufort village was captured by 1st Canadian Division. 56 Canadians and 2 British soldiers were buried there. Following the Armistice Leonard’s grave was moved to Cerisy-Gailly Military Cemetery. Plot 2, row N, grave 17.
There is a Probate dated 2nd August 1918: “Leonard Frank of Meteor Saskatoon Nipamin Canada died 11 August 1918 in France. Administration (with Will) London 2 August to George Gouldsmith laundry proprietor. Effects £288 4s. 6d.”