Richard Publow Leighton

Jul 28, 1897

Born in Perth, Ontario to Richard and Emma (nee Publow) Leighton. 

His father Richard, died December 23, 1896, prior to his birth.  His mother Emma, died in March of 1904


Nov 7, 1914

Attested into the 21st Battalion in Kingston, Ontario


Ø  Number 59581 (temporary number 947)

Ø  Next of kin given as Mrs. James McGarvey, sister, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

o   Note to also notify Mrs. Robert Publow, aunt, Perth, Ontario

Ø  Previous occupation given as Telegraph Operator

o   Later noted as Railroad Telegraph Operator for Canadian Pacific Railway

Ø  No previous military experience given

Ø  Religion given as Presbyterian

Ø  Posted to “D” Company

o   Later posted to the Signals Section of the Headquarters Company

Richard Leighton lied about his age, stating he was born July 28, 1896, not his actual birth date of July 28, 1897

The 21st Battalion trained in the Kingston, Ontario area through the winter of 1914-15.


May 6, 1915

Embarked the RMS Metagama in Montreal, Quebec



May 15, 1915

Disembarked in Devonport, England and the battalion proceeded to the West Sandling Camp, near Hythe, Kent to continue training


Jul 9, 1915

Admitted to the Moore Barracks Hospital in Shorncliffe with a diagnosis that reads Varicocele, an enlargement of veins in the scrotum


Jul 12, 1915

Transferred to the RAMC (Royal Army Medical Corps) hospital in Shorncliffe


Jul 31, 1915

Transferred to the Wakeley House VAD (Volunteer Aid Detachment) Hospital in Shorncliffe


Aug 20, 1915

Discharged to duty from hospital


Sep 14, 1915

Embarked the St. Seiriol in Folkestone



Sep 15, 1915

Disembarked in Boulogne, France and the battalion proceeded to St. Omer


Feb 24, 1916

Admitted to the No. 5 CFA (Canadian Field Ambulance) with a diagnosis that reads Hydrocele, an inflammation in the scrotum


Feb 29, 1916

Discharged to duty from the field ambulance


Nov 3, 1916

Granted 10 days leave


Nov 7, 1916

Awarded the Good Conduct Badge


Nov 18, 1916

Rejoined the battalion from leave


Nov 24, 1916

Appointed to the rank of Lance Corporal


Apr 25, 1917

During an attack on German lines south of Acheville, France, Lance Corporal Leighton received multiple shrapnel wounds to his face, hands, legs and hips while handling communications at “C” Company Headquarters.  He was first evacuated to a field ambulance for first aid before being transported to a casualty clearing station.


Apr 26, 1917

Surgery performed to remove shrapnel from his legs and buttocks


Apr 30, 1917

Transferred to the 3rd General Hospital in Boulogne


May 2, 1917

Invalided to England aboard the Hospital Ship Pieter de Coninck


On arrival in England, he was admitted to the War Hospital in Keighley, Yorkshire.  On admission the wounds are noted as “smell badly”.

Transferred to the EORD (Eastern Ontario Regimental Depot) for pay purposes while in hospital


Jun 16, 1917

Transferred to the CCH (Canadian Convalescent Hospital), Monks Horton


Jun 26, 1917

X-ray shows several shrapnel fragments in his left hand


Aug 2, 1917

Transferred to the Moore Barracks Hospital in Shorncliffe


Aug 7, 1917

Surgery performed to amputate ring finger of his left hand and remove damaged bone fragments


Aug 28, 1917

Transferred to the Military Convalescent Hospital in Epsom


Oct 2, 1917

Transferred to the Canadian Military Hospital in Kirkdale


Nov 15, 1917

Invalided to Canada aboard the Hospital Ship Glenart Castle



Nov 26, 1917

Disembarked in Saint John, New Brunswick and proceeded to Kingston, Ontario

On arrival in Kingston, he was admitted to the Kingston Convalescent Home


Dec 3, 1917

Transferred to the Queen’s University Hospital in Kingston to be treated as an out-patient


Mar 26, 1918

Medical Board at Queen’s University Hospital in Kingston notes

Ø  Suffered shrapnel wounds to his face, right thigh and buttock, left hand and left thigh]

Ø  Unable to flex right leg and cannot walk properly

Ø  All his scars are sensitive to the touch

Ø  Ring finger of left hand amputated and has poor function of hand

Ø  Facial scars from shrapnel wounds bleed easily when shaving

Ø  There is a shrapnel fragment embedded in the skin below his right eye

Ø  Disability is determined to be 60%

Ø  Board recommends he be discharged from service as medically unfit


Apr 8, 1918

Discharged from the CEF in Kingston, Ontario

Ø  Rank on discharge Lance Corporal

Ø  Entitled to War Service Badge Class “A”

Ø  Proposed residence on discharge Perth, Ontario

Following the end of the war, the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medals were sent to him at Perth, Ontario


Oct 30, 1920

Married to Gertrude Mary Flett in Melfort, Saskatchewan


Feb 7, 1979

Richard Leighton died in the Memorial Pavilion, Victoria, British Columbia of Hypostatic Pneumonia that was complicated by Epilepsy and Brain Disease.  He had suffered from Kidney failure for many years.

Following an autopsy, Richard Leighton’s remains were cremated and returned to his family


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