"> Blood or Marriage linked relatives of John Michael Graham LEECH
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Frederick Sidney LEECH
(1875-)
Sarah ROBINSON
(1852-1935)
Rev. Picton Williams FRANCIS
(1871-1953)
Winifred WEAVER
(1880-1960)
John Frederick LEECH Mbe
(1907-2001)
Winifred Joan FRANCIS
(1909-2007)
John Michael Graham LEECH
(1939-1952)

 

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John Michael Graham LEECH

  • Born: 10 May 1939, Barton Upon Irwell, Lancashire, England
  • Died: 2 Jul 1952, Mafeking, , Cape Province, South Africa at age 13
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bullet  General Notes:

Part of our house in Mafeking had been the Br sgts' mess during the Siege of Mafeking,1900/1901. There were various artifacts left around the house including 3 artillary shells, 2 14 lbrs (doorstops) and a 7 lbr used as a centrepiece in the birdbath. Graham, Noel McIntosh, Neil and Kieth Gardener and a 7 yr old me had been shooting pigeon with catapults, and some of the days bag were cooking around an open fire at the base of a huge pepper tree in the corner of the back garden. Having run out of lead slugs used as ammo, the boys cast around for more lead, and sighted the lead additions on the outer casing of the 7 lbr. These had been added to provide a better fit in the barrel of the fieldpiece. The shell was placed on top of the fire. Fortunately, Kieth and Noel went off to fetch the mould from one of their homes, and the shell, unbeknown to us, being live, exploded, killing Graham and Neil and leaving me severely wounded. Dad was 1000 odd miles away at a scout jamboree on Northern Rhodesias' copperbelt, and Mum was shopping in Mafeking. Friends and neighbours rallied around with extraordinary generosity. Mums set up a rota so that someone was with me for 24 hrs a day in the local hospital, because there was a staff shortage. Friends ensured that Mum was not alone at any time until Dad returned. A solicitor friend, Spencer Minchin, flew his Piper Cub light plane unannounced to the Copperbelt to collect Dad and bring him home. An archaeologist friend of my fathers in Johannesburg, Prof. DuToit van Zyl, offered to divert a Dakota aircraft that he had chartered for an aerial survey of the Kalahari Desert, so that I could be flown to Joburg to see eye specialists there. Friends, aquaintances and strangers alike rolled up on the doorstep or at Dads' office to offer condolences and help. One man came representing the whole of the local coloured (in those days, the term for the half- cast ) community. Their compassion has left a lasting impression on me as it all combined to go a long way in lightening the enormous grief, and particularly the (totally needless and groundless) sense of guilt that I always felt that my parents suffered for the rest of their lives. Two things used to make Mum cry. One was the memory of the last time she saw her own Mother, and the other was when she thought of Graham
Peter Leech


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