Leo Gilbert Donohue

Informations sur naissance

Date de naissance:
Lieu de naissance:
Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand

Informations générales


Informations service militaire

New Zealand
Force armée:
New Zealand Expeditionary Force
Numéro de service:
Incorporation date:
Incorporation nom de lieu:
Featherston, Wellington, New Zealand
 —  New Zealand Trench Mortar, 4th Bty.  (Dernière unité connue)

Informations sur décès

Date de décès:
Lieu de décès:
Reutel, Beselare, Belgique
Cause du décès:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)


Buttes New British Cemetery, Polygon Wood
Parcelle: II
Rangée: B
Tombe: 14

Distinctions et médailles 2

British War Medal
Victory Medal

Points d'intérêt 3

#1 Lieu de naissance
#2 Lieu d'enrôlement
#3 "Lieu de décès"

Mon histoire

Private Leo Gilbert Donohue of the Canterbury Regiment 3rd Battalion, of the 4th New Zealand Brigade, part of the New Zealand Division, took part in the 3rd battle of Ypres, also known as The Battle of Passchendaele. Following the battle the newly established Allied line had to be consolidated and defended.

Leo was the son of Martin and Ann Donohue and native of Papanui, Christchurch. Enlisted into 'J' Company of 20th Reinforcement Battalion on 29 August 1916. On his enlistment form he states his occupation as a clerk within the New Zealand farmers Cooperation in Canterbury. His Unit embarked from New Zealand on 30 December 1916, reaching the UK on 3 March 1917. He was initially posted to the 3rd Auckland Battalion but on 5 May 1917 he was transferred to the 3rd Canterbury before leaving for France on 28th May. As of July 2nd Donohue became attached to the 4th New Zealand Light Trench Mortar Battery.

Since mid-November the 4th Brigade N.Z.E.F. had been stationed at the frontline, east of Polygon Wood and close to the Reutelbeek. An attack had been planned for the 3 December with the aim of capturing and securing the heights at Polderhoek Château.

Zero hour for the attack had been scheduled for 12 noon on 3 December 1917, after the attacking troops had assumed their positions throughout the previous night. The Allied artillery barrage commenced, which Private Donohue is likely to have been involved with. And given his position being with a Light Trench Mortar Battery he would have been stationed close to the front line. The terrain and weather was so poor in this region that the artillery had struggled to establish firm or stable positions and so the opening barrage was 'erratic' with several shells falling upon and into Allied positions. Some ground was taken early on in the attack but overall it is classed overall as unsuccessful.

Private Leo Gilbert Donohue was Killed in Action on 3 December 1917, Aged 21. His Battery was positioned in Reutel and possibly fired on German positions near Polderhoek Château. It is however difficult to pin-point the exact circumstances of Private Donohue's death. It could well be possible that he was killed by a rouge allied shell or as a result of German counter-artillery, or possibly by German machine gun fire as his mortar battery changed positions as the attack developed. He was buried in the field near the hamlet of Reutel. After the war his remains were exhumed and interred in Buttes New British Cemetery; Plot II, Row B, Grave 14. His twin brother Private Lawrence Patrick Donohue of the New Zealand Medical Corps had Died of Wounds in St. Omer, France on 20th October 1917, only two weeks before his brother fell in Belgium.

Fichiers 1

Sources 5

"The History of the Rifle Brigade in The War of 1914-1918", Seymour, W. W., Londen, The Rifle Brigade Club Ltd., 1936, p. 259-262.
Sources utilisées
Auckland Cenotaph
Sources utilisées
Sources utilisées
Sources utilisées
The Long, Long Trail
Sources utilisées