Leslie George Ching
Leslie George Ching, 1885-1919, is one of the eight Stoke men known to have died in World War One. He is commemorated on the Stoke Memorial Gates.
Leslie was one of three brothers who served in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) in WW1. He was born on 4 April 1885 in Richmond, the third child of Charles and Sarah Jane (née Norgate) Ching.
Leslie grew up to be a telegraph linesman with the Post & Telegraph Department.
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He enlisted with the NZEF on 3 August 1915 and is recorded as being a towering 6’ 3.5” in height, weighing 182 lb and with a 34 to 37.5 inch chest measurement. He is described as having blue eyes, black hair and a fresh complexion.
On enlistment Leslie became 4/1034 Sapper Ching with the New Zealand Engineers and by 14 August 1915, he was embarking at Wellington aboard the Willochra (HMNZT 27), bound for Egypt as one of the New Zealand Expeditionary Forces’ 6th Reinforcements.
He arrived in Egypt on 19 September and, from 26 October, he was on active service at Gallipoli. From 10 December, until he rejoined his unit on 9 February 1916, Leslie was suffering from, and being treated for, enteritis (dysentery) in first, the NZ General Hospital in Cairo and subsequently Lady Godly’s convalescent hospital in Zeitoun. A month later Leslie was transferred to the 2nd Battalion Canterbury Regiment which was part of the NZ Division’s 2nd NZ Infantry Brigade. On 7 April his unit embarked on the S.S. Canada at Port Said, bound for France. By mid-May, Leslie and his unit were back in the front line in the neighbourhood of Armentières where they remained from May to August, 1916 and where their main duties were to guard the Armentieres and Sailly sectors.
Leslie’s unit then took part in the Battle of Flers-Courcelette which was 3rd phase of the Battle of the Somme and in which two other men from Stoke, Guy Giblin and Albert Cresswell, were killed (Albert and Leslie were second cousins). Leslie himself was wounded in action on 16 September 1916 and found himself in the 9th General Hospital in Rouen three days later. By 4 October he was able to rejoin his unit.
From 2 April 1917, the second half of Leslie’s overseas service began when he was attached to the NZ Engineers’ Divisional Signals Company and spent several days that month on a signalling course. Leslie remained with this company for the rest of his service apart from a period in mid-May to early June when he was back in hospital, this time suffering from dyspepsia. Also, from 21 January 1918 he was granted leave in the UK, rejoining his unit on 5 February. Latterly, he had some respite in the 3rd Army Rest Camp between 17 September and 3 October that year.
Having survived the war, Leslie was discharged to the UK on 1 January 1919. While on leave there he caught Spanish influenza and died of pneumonia in Edinburgh’s military hospital on 22 Jan 1919.
His brothers, Herbert Charles (31468) and Mostyn Roy (24341) both survived the war.
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Further sources - Leslie George Ching
- New Zealand Army Expeditionary Force. (1914-1919) Nominal Rolls of New Zealand Expeditionary Force, Volume I. Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer.
- Mischief in a pea field (1898, November 18) Nelson Evening Mail, p.2
- Leslie George Ching: Military personnel file
- Auckland War Memorial Museum Library catalogue. War series transcripts. (1990's).
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
- The Gallipoli campaign (2014) (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 2-Sep-2014
- Leslie George Ching. Cenotaph database record, retrieved 16 February 2015:
- McLintock, A.H. (1966) The New Zealand Expeditionary Force. From An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand. Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 23-Apr-09
- The magazine of the Sixth Reinforcements New Zealand Expeditionary Force / At sea : Magazine Committee, Sixth Reinforcements; printed at the "Dominion" Office, Wellington, NZ, 1913-1915. Retrieved from Aukland Museum catalogue:
- Surcingle:official organ of the Silent Sixth Rfcts, New Zealand Expdy Force Publisher:[At sea] : [Magazine Committee], 1915. Retrieved from Aukland Museum catalogue: