|Date of Birth||April 7, 1900|
|Place of Birth||Kenora, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||Rev. Frank B.Stacey (father), Westminster Avenue, Chilliwack, British Columbia|
|Trade / Calling||Student|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Place of Enlistment||Vancouver, British Columbia|
|Address at Enlistment||Chilliwack, British Columbia|
|Date of Enlistment||April 12, 1916|
|Age at Enlistment||16|
|Theatre of Service||Great Britain and Mesopotamia|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||August 26, 1971|
|Age at Death||71|
Second Lieutenant Leonard Brown Stacey enlisted in the 196th Battalion in 1916, at age 16, and received a commission in the Indian Army about two years later. He served with the Indian Army in Mesopotamia and returned to Canada in October 1919.
Leonard was the youngest son of Reverend Frank Bainard Stacey and Susanna Johnson Fish of Chilliwack, British Columbia. Rev. Stacey was born in 1859 near St. Thomas, Ontario and he grew up on a farm in that area. He entered the Methodist ministry at age 19 then attended university and was ordained in 1885. His wife was born in Newtonbrook, York County, Ontario and they were married in Newtonbrook in 1885. Rev. Stacey and his wife served in several places in southwestern Ontario. Their daughter Helen Emma was born in London in 1886 followed by sons George Nelles (1888 in Wanstead, Lambton County) and Herbert Chambers (1889 in Middlesex County). From there they moved to Saskatchewan (the North-West Territories at that time) where two more sons were born: Charles Arthur (1891, died at age two) and Frank Wendell (1894 in Moose Jaw).
Leonard Brown was born in the town of Rat Portage (now called Kenora), in northwestern Ontario, on 7 April 1900. After that his family lived in Crystal City and Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. Around 1910 Rev. Stacey retired for health reasons and he and his wife settled in Chilliwack, British Columbia, where he purchased land and began growing fruit. He became a well-known horticulturalist and he was also very involved in marketing local produce. He was active in federal politics, serving in the House of Commons, and he and his wife were Charter members of the Chilliwack branch of the Red Cross when it was organized in 1928.
When the war started Frank Wendell and Herbert Chambers were early volunteers, signing up at Valcartier in September 1914 with the first Canadian Contingent. Leonard was just 14 years then and he enlisted on 12 April 1916, at age 16. He was a student at Chilliwack High School at the time and he passed himself off as a year older, giving his birth date as 15 January 1899. He signed up in Vancouver and joined the 196th (Western Universities) Battalion. He trained with his unit over the summer and fall and headed overseas at the end of October, embarking from Halifax on the SS Southland and arriving in Liverpool on 11 November.
Leonard served in Great Britain for about 15 months with the 19th and 16th Reserve Battalions. He was discharged from the Canadian Expeditionary Force on 6 February 1918 in order to get a commission. He was still just 17 years old he became a Second Lieutenant in the 96th Regiment of the Indian Army. He was sent to Mesopotamia and served in a camp near Baghdad, which he mentioned in a letter home in May 1919. By the fall of 1919 he was back in England where he was demobilized and discharged from service. He returned to Canada in late September on the SS Tunisian, sailing from London and arriving in Montreal on 5 October. He was 19 years old by then and he had served for two and a half years. His brother Herbert also survived the war but Frank Wendell was killed at Gallipoli in June 1915.
After the war Leonard attended the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, studying electrical engineering and graduating in 1924 with a B.A.Sc. That same year, on 11 July, he married Constance Hillary Cook at St. Thomas’ Church in Chilliwack. Constance was a graduate nurse and she was born in Sussex, England, the daughter of Walter George and Mary Jane Cook. Leonard and Constance had three children: Helen Elizabeth ‘Betty’ (born in 1925 in Hamilton, Ontario), Michael and David. They lived in Hamilton from 1924 to 1926, where Leonard worked for the Canadian Westinghouse Company. From 1926 to 1929 he was Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of British Columbia. In 1929 William was appointed District Manager of Packard Electric Company in Vancouver and he went on to have a long career with them. Sadly, Constance died in Vancouver in 1933, at age 34, and she’s buried in Fraser Cemetery (Oddfellows) in New Westminster.
Leonard married Dorothy Harriette Eileen Watson (née Patrick) on 3 August 1938 in Vancouver. Dorothy was born in 1913 in the RM of Glenwood, Manitoba, the daughter of Robert Charles Patrick and Harriet Ann Barnes. She had married William Franklyn Watson in 1933 but they were divorced. Leonard continued living in Vancouver and working for Packard Electric. According to his obituary he served again in the Second World War with the British Columbia Regiment (Duke of Connaught’s Own Rifles). He was very active in his profession and was a member of several engineering organizations, serving as president of the Association of Professional Engineers of B.C. in 1952. He was married again in the early 1950s to Norma Irene Irwin (1925-2013).
Leonard retired around 1965. He passed away in Lady Minto Hospital in Ganges, Salt Spring Island, British Columbia on 26 August 1971, at age 71. Cremation followed and a service was held on 31 August in Chilliwack. Leonard was divorced at the time of his passing and survived by four sons and a daughter: Michael, Anthony and Neil of Salt Spring Island, David of Campbell River and Betty (Mrs. Stanley Brightwell) of Belleville, Ontario. His sister Helen (Mrs. Robert Kippen) had died in 1920 in Manitoba, his father in 1930 in Chilliwack, his mother in 1931 in Vancouver, his brother Herbert in 1966 in Wales and his brother George in 1968 in Vancouver. His daughter Betty Brightwell passed away in Esquimalt, British Columbia in 2015.
Leonard is commemorated on the Chilliwack High School Great War Roll of Honour.
By Becky Johnson