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Thomas Charles Leavy

Rank: Sergeant (D.C.M.)
Street: 3 Ferry Cottages
Townland: Morice Town
Town/Village: Devonport, Devonshire
Civil Parish: Templemichael
Catholic Parish: Templemichael
Alternative Address: Naud's/Noud's Yard, Longford; 39 Castlefield Woods; 15 Gawan Terrace, Torpoint, Cornwall
Census 1901: Resident at Naud's Yard, Longford
Census 1911:
Regiment/Unit: Leinster Regiment, 2nd Battalion, 'A' Company; [prev. Royal Irish Fusiliers]
Regiment Number: 7071; [7684]
Date of Death: 07-03-1916
Cause: Killed in action, Ypres/Ieper
Memorial: Menin Road South Military Cemetery, Ieper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium

Thomas was born 14 February 1885 in Longford, and was the son of Patrick Leavy a tailor.
Sgt Leavy enlisted in the army in Longford in 1902. After being transferred to the Reserve, he lived in Devonport and worked at the dockyard there as a coopersmith's mate. He married Florence Adeline on the 26 December 1915 and they lived at 3 Ferry Cottages, Morice Town, Devonport. Thomas's younger brother, Sjt James Leavey, as also a long-standing soldier who served with the 2nd Leinsters during WW1. 

Thomas was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) on the 11 March 1916 for an act of bravery at Hooge on the 12th August 1915; he was also awarded the French Croix de Guerre for bravery at Loos. The citation stated: "For conspicuous gallantry. A shell hit a dugout, burying two men of his company. Although suffering himself from concussion Lance-Serjeant Leavey [sic] dug these men out under heavy shrapnel fire, and led them to safety. Again, on another occasion, when on patrol duty with an officer and two men, the officer was mortally wounded and he alone being uninjured carried the officer under cover."

Mentioned in De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour, key points: son of an army master tailor; he enlisted on 14 August 1902 and served 7 years; called up in 1914 at the start of the war. he was shot by a sniper while attending to a wounded comrade. The commanding officer of the 2nd Leinsters, Lt-Col. G,M. Bullen-Smith wrote to Florenece his widow as follows: 'He was hit in the temple by a sniper. I daresay you will have heard this officially, but I thought I would like to let you know how much his loss will be felt by all in the battalion. He was a very gallant soldier and well-deserved the decorations he had won and which I hoped he would long be spared to wear.'

Parents Names: Son of the late Patrick Leavy and Kate (née MacDonald/ McDonnell) of Naud's Yard, Longford.
Notes: Lieut. Frank Hitchcock ('C' Company, Leinster Regiment) mentioned Thomas in his diary on two occasions. The first, on 17 August 1915, when stationed near the front line at Hooge, the bomb store that he was in charge of, as 'Bombing N.C.O. of A Company', took a direct hit and he had a lucky escape. The other was an amusing incident on 6 November 1915, when he was presented with his French medal. Thomas left the St Eloi area (near Ypres) for Poperinghe early in the morning and had no time to shave. Later that evening, he told Hitchcock: "'Twas grand entirely, [a French] General and all. He shook me by the hand and to me (sic) utter astonishment, kissed me on both sides of the face, and me with two-days' growth". (See 'Stand to': a diary of the trenches, 1915-18 (reprint 1988), pp 78, 126). Thomas was a granduncle of the late Michael Reilly, Longford (d. 2014), a veteran of the Second World War. Our thanks to Louise Farrell for the additional information supplied.

Link to CWGC entryNotice in Longford Leader of Leavy's death ; Memorial Mass in Plymouth Cathedral, March 2016; Irish Identity website; link to Civil Record of birth

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