Jim Leadoux with his English bride Annie Beatrice Dale. Courtesy of the Leadoux family.
Corporal James Joseph Leadoux
Pakenham South War Memorial
Born: 15 Jan 1891 - Mount Morgan, Queensland Enlisted: 22 July 1915
Unit: 2nd Light Horse Regiment, 2nd Reinforcement (SERN: 1613) Served: Egypt & Western Front
Died: 25 January 1980 - Pakenham, Victoria
Known as “Jim”, James Leadoux is honoured on the Pakenham South War Memorial. Jim was not one of the original Pakenham South volunteers. Instead, he was a leading soldier-settler who moved to the area in the 1920s. Jim was born in Queensland, the son of Christie Leadoux, a miner from France and Bridget Shanahan. By 1913, he was working as a fencer at Alpha in central west Queensland. (1). Jim was a 24 year old stockman when he enlisted at Brisbane on 22 July 1915. He was initially allocated to the 2nd Light Horse, but in Egypt was later transferred to the 11th Field Artillery Brigade (FAB) as a gunner with the 43rd Battery. Jim later served as a driver on the Western Front. In June 1917, the 11th FAB was deployed in support of the British attack on the Germans at Messines. Jim was wounded in action there on 10 June, but remained on duty (2). According to the Unit’s war diary, the 43rd battery moved up into the vicinity of Messines that very day, but the Germans were actively retaliating using gas shells (2a) Later, in August 1917, Jim was allocated to the 111th Battery. On 19 October 1917, he was admitted to the 3rd Australian Field Ambulance suffering from accidental burns to the face (perhaps caused by an accident with one of the artillery pieces) and subsequently transferred to hospital in England. Jim appears to have remained in England for the rest of the War. In January 1919, he was promoted to the rank of temporary Corporal with the 111 Battery. In March 1919, while based at the Heytesbury Camp, Jim married Annie Beatrice Dale. They returned to Australia together in November 1919, with Jim being discharged in Brisbane in January 1920 (3). Their first daughter was born at Cooparoo (where Jim’s sister lived), in May 1920 (4).
Jim and his family subsequently moved to Drouin in Victoria, where he worked on a pig farm (5). In 1922, he acquired a soldier-settler block of land on Hagelthorn’s Estate at Pakenham South. Jim became known as a “great worker for the district”, including with the local Pakenham South Progress Association, State School Board and Golf Club. He was active in the re-establishment of the RSL in Pakenham in the 1930s and regularly rode on his bike to Lang Lang for district RSL board meetings. Annie was also regarded as a “wonderful worker” for the district (6). During WWII, Jim served as a Lieutenant (V367913) with the local 11th Battalion VDC (7), and later served on the Pakenham Repatriation Committee. He and Annie later moved to Pakenham East. Jim died in 1980 aged 89.
The assistance of Jim’s grandson Peter Leadoux, Peter's wife Robyn and Adam Leadoux is gratefully acknowledged.
(1) Ancestry.com.au - ER - Capricornia - Alpha 1913 p. 5
(2) & (3) NAA B2455 LEADOUX, JAMES JOSEPH.
(2a) AWM 13/38/17 Unit War Diary HQ 11 AFA Brigade June 1917 p. 4
(4) Brisbane Courier 5/6/1920, p. 4
(5) PROV VPRS 5714/PO Unit 839 Item 720/12
(6) Back to Cardinia Committee (1984) p. 116