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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

39168 Worker Elsie A M Leonard QMAAC (Signals) Audruicq, France


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Hi Guys,

Some of you may have read some of my previous post over the past years regarding my 'Holsworthy Boys' - the men of Holsworthy and district (North Devon) lost during WWI. Having another look through Holsworthy Church yard I came across a grave I had seen before but not recorded - its inscription reads as follows:-

"In Loving Memory of a Dear Friend


who served her country

with the Q.M.A.A.C. (Signals) Audruicq, France

during the Great War

and who fell asleep at

2 South Bank, Holsworthy

on 5th April 1924 aged 27 years."

Elsie Adeline M Leonard was born at 6 Hollywood Terrace, Plymouth in 1897 - the daughter of Henry William Leonard a 'Royal Navy Torpedo Instructor (1911 Census - unusually, when the Leonards completed the 1911 census they included the street and house number where each child was born). I have been unable to ascertain when or why she moved to Holsworthy or who the 'friend' who erected her headstone was.

Her MIC is available giving her 'rank' as 'worker' and number 39168 and confirms the award of the BWM and Victory confirming overseas service. I have been unable to locate her service record at DocumentsOnline (The lead site mentions that there were over 57000 WAACs in WW1. The records were damaged in the blitz with around 7000 records surviving)

Currently I have not obtained a copy of her death certificate and so can not ascertain the reason for death in 1924 (although am not really expecting it to be war related).

Can anyone help with any further details? Where is her service record? What was she actually employed doing? What were the Q.M.A.A.C. (Signals) doing in Audruicq, and when were they doing it?

There is no obituary or note in the local newspaper recording her passing which might have at least told me a little more.

I'd really like to put a story together for this lady - her WWI service was obviously thought important enough by her friend to be recorded on her gravestone. Alas, like so many other graves, this one seems never to be visited any more, lying forgotten.

Looking forward to your replies.

Thanks guys


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unfortunately their records were also affected by the 1940 air raid http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documentsonline/waac.asp hers seem to be among those lost.

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The likelihood is that she was a telephonist which was a QMAAC trade. They did serve with signals units in the rear areas.


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