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H.M.S. Impregnable
H.M.S. Impregnable
H.M.S. Boadicea
H.M.S. Boadicea
H.M.S. Europa
H.M.S. Europa
Lancashire Landing Cemetery, Gallipoli
Lancashire Landing Cemetery, Gallipoli
image: The War Graves Photographic Project
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Frazer, Leonard James

1914-1915 Star
1914/15 Star
Victory Medal
Victory Medal
British War Medal
British War Medal
Leading Signalman Leonard James Frazer (235685)
Died of pneumonia on Monday 23rd December 1918
After War, aged 29
Son of Isaac & Jemima Frazer
Father's occupation: Beer Retailer
Born 26th December 1889 at Ruscombe
5 sisters, 1 brother, position in family: 4
Relatives: Brother of 12527 Pte Frederick Frazer
Infant School:Hurst Infants
Senior School:Hurst Boys
Admitted:3rd May 1897
Age on admission:7
Left school:Sunday 19th July 1903
Age at leaving:13
Local address: The John Barleycorn, Hurst
Pre-war occupation: Railway Labourer; Sailor
Enlisted:Monday 10th December 1906
Service:Royal Navy
Ship:HMS Europa
Died:Monday 23rd December 1918
Cause:Died of pneumonia
Action:After War
Battalion at:Mudros
Commemorated:Grave at Lancashire Landing Cemetery, Gallipoli

Leonard Frazer was born in Ruscombe on 26th December 1889 to Isaac and Jemima Frazer, and was the fourth of seven children. Leonard's father was an agricultural labourer and the family lived in Kennel Cottages, Ruscombe. Leonard attended Hurst Infants School and at the age of seven he became a pupil in Hurst Boys School, leaving at thirteen in July 1903.

Leonard became a railway labourer until just before his seventeenth birthday when he was accepted as a Boy Sailor 2nd Class in the Royal Navy. At the turn of the century Britain had the strongest navy in the world and there was stiff competition for places. Only one in ten applicants was accepted for training after passing a stringent medical and proving their abilities in reading, writing and arithmetic.

Leonard passed these tests and was granted a place on HMS Impregnable at Devonport. HMS Impregnable was laid down in Pembroke Dock in 1860 and was a five-deck, line-of-battle ship of 6,557 tons and armed with 110 guns. She had been built at the same time as the ironclad ship "HMS Warrior" and thus was made obsolete even as she was being launched. As a result she made only one sea-going cruise, for her steam trials, after which she was moored in the upper reaches of the Hamoaze for 25 years until she was brought back into use as a training ship.

Leonard would have signed a contract, endorsed by his parents, committing to serve in the Navy for 12 years from his eighteenth birthday. With the entry formalities over Leonard would then have received his uniform and prayer book on board Circe, the tender for HMS Impregnable. Once on board the training ship it was usual to receive vaccinations before joining the other new entrants for their first eight months of training.

Lessons started with tidiness and how to look after kit. They then moved on with swimming, rowing, gunnery and seamanship. Each day there were two hours of academic classes that included trigonometry, astronomy, algebra and navigation. There was also plenty of PE and sports plus the occasional shore leave as relief from the busy schedule. After eight months Leonard became a Boy 1st Class and moved on to the next stage of his training.

Leonard chose to specialise as a signaller and found himself in even more historical surroundings on Nelson's flagship HMS Victory. This was now the Naval School of Telegraphy and had been fitted out with sounders, bells, needles and printers in the Admiral's after cabin. Up on deck there were mechanical semaphores and heliographs as well as the traditional signal flags, arranged so that flag-hoisting drill could be carried out with the fore and mizzen masts representing different ships.

After three months on Victory, Leonard spent a week at Chatham before being assigned to his first warship, HMS Swiftsure. Leonard was now eighteen and had become an Ordinary Seaman. It was only after another six months experience at sea that he could gain the sought after rank of Able Seaman.

Leonard served on more than twenty ships during his naval career and on each ship his character was always reported as 'Very Good'. His time at sea was interspersed with postings to HMS Pembroke at Chatham and he qualified as a Signaller in 1911 and a Leading Signaller in 1916. The start of the First World War found Leonard one year into a three year posting to HMS Boadicea. During this time Leonard's ship saw action at the Battle of Jutland, the major naval engagement of the war. Boadicea's role was to cover the flank of the fleet and so it had the fortune not to suffer any casualties during the battle.

After HMS Boadicea Leonard saw service with the Mediterranean Fleet and received a Good Conduct award in 1917. He had postings on several ships in the Aegean, finding himself on HMS Europa, a Diadem-class cruiser, at the end of the war. It was while with HMS Europa that Leonard contracted pneumonia and died at Tenedos on 23rd December 1918. He was 29 years old and had been in the Royal Navy for almost twelve years. He now rests in a Commonwealth war grave in the Lancashire Landing Cemetery in Gallipoli.


Leonard Frazer at the Lancashire Landing Cemetery, Gallipoli
Lancashire Landing Cemetery, Gallipoli
Never forgotten
from all at home
from Mum and Dad
image: The War Graves Photographic Project

They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in morning
We will remember them.
Lawrence Binyon