2nd Lt. Leonard James French


He was certainly killed by the IRA, and from an interview with O'Malley, one of the men involved says that they shot him in the river, weighed the body down with chains, and later buried it in the river mud. It is not surprising the the body was never found. If anyone needs further information, its in a statement by Ned McPhilips, a local IRA man, who said what happened to his body. From Enrie O Malley interviews (Ned McPhilips, interview (UCDA, Ernie o Malley notebooks, P17b/101). I had the transcript on this page for a long time, but was asked to remove it by a Mr Aaron Ó Maonaigh who tells me that he holds the rights to publishing the interviews in the O'Malley Papers

His RAF Record gives his civilian job as "Officer in Mercantile Marine " for 9 years with various companies. He also acquired a knowledge of Hindustani while in RNAS

1895 Jan 17 born Newcastle under Lyme, Staffs

1901 census at 18, Airlie Avenue, Potter Newton, Yorks

1909 Aug 2. Entered Marchant Marine as an indetured 14 year old with Balls & Stansfield

1909 Aug 3, Apprentice on SS Easterville.

1911 Census The family are at 3 Kensington Rd, Morecambe. But Leonard is not there, he was away at sea.

1913 Sep 29 to 10 Dec 1919 AB on SS King Malcolm

1914 Feb 14 Gets his 2nd Mate certificate

1917 Nov 18. From his RAF service record. Posted to Greenwich. His next of kin is his mother 3 Kensington Rd, Morecambe

1918 Feb 8. Posted to Vendome

1918 Apr 5. Appointed temp Lt. The undermentioned Probationary Flight Officers (late R.N.A.S.) are granted temp, commns. as 2nd Lts. (A. & S.)

1918 Jun 1. Posted to HMS Furious

1918 Aug 16. Posted to Cranwell

1918 Oct 24 Posted to HMS Pegasus

1919 Apr 7 Posted to Leuchars

1919 Apr 14 Demobilised

1919 Apr 15. To unemployed List

1920 Feb 24. 3rd mate on SS Bata arrives in New York

1921 Feb 16. Joins ADRIC with RIC no 82537, ADRIC no 1692. ex-RAF

1921 Feb 21 Allocated to A Coy

1921 Jun 10. Reported missing in Kilkenny. Believed to have been murdered Attached to A Coy


The ADRIC register has been alter to read "Murdered" from the original "Missing", so the authorities may have got more information. In any event, his body has never been found

IRA reports say that they were ambushed by C Coy 5th battalion from the Rower district under command of James Mackey. The Auxiliaries were in civilian clothes at the time and were caught measuring a road when they were captured. They were doing intelligence work under the guise of county council workers, they made a break for it both were hit French was killed and the other having been wounded escaped and made his way back. That night the Tans raided the Rower Village questioned some people and when leaving burned some houses including the licensed premises of Mr Tom Butler.

The later compensation claim from his parents gave a few more details. The result was that the family got £2000 in compensation for his death. It includes information from R Kirke, Intelligence officer of A Coy. He was with T/Cadet Henry Ware when he was lost.