The Soldier o’ Fortune

Colonel Jack Leckie, D.S.O.
16th (Canadian Scottish) BattalionLeckie_J

Colonel “Jack” was dashing, impulsive, with the stocky build which indicated great reserves of physical strength, and the temperament of the man of action ready for any adventure. And of adventures he had more than the considerable share which generally is met with by members of his calling. He passed along the most beaten paths of land, sea and air, and ventured on others, of which the majority of humankind know nothing outside of story books.

(Urquhart, History of the 16th Battalion CEF, 1932, 97)

Born in Acton-Vale, Quebec on 19 February 1872, John Edwards Leckie was a soldier, mining engineer, adventurer, world traveler and treasure hunter. In August 1914, he joined the 16th Battalion and served as second-in-command to his brother, Lieutenant Colonel R. G. E. Leckie. Both had graduated from the Royal Military College and served in the Boer War. Jack had won the Distinguished Service Order for gallantry in the South African campaign.

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The Quiet Man

Brigadier General R. G. E. Leckie
16th (Canadian Scottish) BattalionLeckie_R

Spare of figure, short of stature, with an almost ascetic type of face, a trait which was accentuated rather than disturbed by the scar on the cheek received when he was mauled by a leopard in a big game hunt in Somaliland, the original Commanding Officer of the 16th was of a reserved disposition, even shy. In action he was cool and observant; he talked, and gave his orders, in a conversational tone. He showed not the slightest sign of irritation; and what such a temperament means in battle only the soldiers who have been through the turmoil of it can truly estimate.

(Urquhart, History of the 16th Battalion CEF, 1932, 97)

Born in Halifax on 4 June 1869 Robert Gilmour Edwards Leckie was a soldier and mining engineer in British Columbia. He graduated from the Royal Military College, served in South Africa and Somaliland, and organized the 72nd Seaforth Highlanders in 1910. During a safari on the Somaliland frontier in 1904, a wild leopard attacked him. Of the incident Leckie explained, “I brought the skull and skin home with me.”

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