Henry Francis (Frank) Leedham

Henry Francis (Frank) Leedham

Henry Francis (Frank) LeedhamHenry Francis (Frank) Leedham

Frank signed up to the Navy in January 1913, at the age of 17. He listed his grandmother, Elizabeth Smith of Portugal Street, Ross, as his next of kin. One of 13 children, Frank grew up on the Parramore property, Wetmore at Ross and the Muirhead property, Woodford at Campbell Town where his father, William, worked as a shearer.

Frank served on the Cerberus and the Paramatta in the lead up to the outbreak of the war, then as Stoker on HMAS Penguin and Leading Stoker on HMAS Huon.

The Huon saw service in the Far East patrol, and then in 1918, in the Mediterranean. After a collision with its sister ship, the Yarra, the Huon was docked in Genoa for repairs.

While in Genoa the Spanish influenza pandemic, then sweeping through Europe, struck the ship and five members of the ship’s company succumbed to the disease, including Frank. His Navy record rated his character as ‘very good’ with ‘superior’ abilities.

Frank’s story is part of our exhibition: Our Grateful Thanks and Loving Remembrance, a moving and deeply personal exhibition remembering the soldiers whose names are immortalised on the Ross War Memorial.