Kenora Great War Project


Personal Details
Date of BirthFebruary 14, 1885
Place of BirthHarrowgate
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinRev James C Stewart Mathias, The Vicarage Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire, England
Trade / CallingClerk
ReligionChurch of England
Service Details
Regimental Number467
Service Record Link to Service Record
Battalion3rd Battalion, Leinster Regiment
ForceBritish Army
BranchBritish Infantry
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Address at EnlistmentKenora, Ontario
Date of EnlistmentAugust 9, 1914
Age at Enlistment29
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details
Date of DeathMarch 1966
Age at Death81

Mathias, Leonard Stewart

Leonard Stewart Mathias was one of the first contingent volunteers from Kenora. His name was among a list of 24 local men published in the Kenora newspaper on Aug. 12, 1914 who had passed medical exams for service after answering an Aug. 9 call for volunteers from the 98th (Rainy River and Kenora) Regiment.

Leonard was born on 14 February 1885 in Harrowgate, Yorkshire, England. His parents were Reverend James C. Stewart Mathias (1855-1930) and Georgina Murray (1851-1918). Siblings included twin brother Howard Stewart (1885-1969) and younger sister, Emilie Sophia (1887-1975). The 1901 England census shows Leonard and Howard both attending the Moravian Boy’s School in Ockbrook, Derbyshire.

Leonard immigrated to Canada arriving at Halifax on 29 November 1907. He was heading to Winnipeg. The 1911 Canadian census records him as one of several lodgers with the Proudlock family in Kenora, Ontario. On his attestation papers he said gave his occupation as clerk.

Mathias was hospitalized for nine days for an injury immediately after arriving in England and in January 1915 was selected for officer training and transferred to the Imperial Forces. He was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant on April 2, 1915 with the 3rd Battalion Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians) based in Cork, Ireland. This was normal at the time as the Canadian Expeditionary Force had a full compliment of officers while the British Army was in need of officers as recruitment swelled its ranks.

The Prince of Wales’s Leinster Regiment took on the nickname Royal Canadians as it had been formed in Canada in 1881 by the merger of two existing British garrison regiments. The Leinster regiment maintained a Canadian recruiting depot for several years and served as a British garrison regiment in Nova Scotia until the 1898 when its Canadian-based battalion went to South Africa.

Mathias stayed with the Leinster Regiment throughout the war and was promoted to temporary Captain in June 1917.

Following the war he maintained his involvement with the Leinsters. A 1922 London Gazette entry notes his appointment as Captain with the Regiment’s special reserve effective Sept. 9, 1921, with his seniority dating from June 20, 1917.

It appears that Leonard remained in England after the war. Little is known of his life there.

Leonard Stewart Mathias died at age 81 in March of 1966 at Lothingland, Suffolk, England.

His brother, Howard, also served in WW1 with the Pembroke Yeomanry and the Welsh Regiment.

by Bob Stewart

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