Richardson Dunbar Leslie

Military Information

  • Date of enlistment: 31.08.1914
  • Place of enlistment:
  • Service no: 187766
  • Rank: Petty Officer 1st Class
  • Awards:
  • Regiment/Service: H.M.S. Formidable
  • Unit/Ship: Royal Navy
  • Place of Death: Lost at Sea
  • Age at Death: 34
  • Date of Death: 01.01.1915
  • Burial Country:
  • Cemetery: Chatham Naval Memorial
  • Grave/Mem Ref no: Panel 9

Personal Information

  • Date of Birth: 18.05.1880
  • Place of Birth: Glencarse, Perthshire
  • Address: 3 Lorne St, Lochee
  • Occupation: Police Constable
  • Mother:
  • Father:
  • Siblings:
  • Spouse:

    Clementina Leslie

  • Children:

    2 Daughters

More about Richardson Dunbar Leslie

Richardson has no known grave but is remembered on the Chatham Naval Memorial. He was serving aboard H.M.S. Formidable when she was struck by 2 torpedoes fired from German Submarine U-24, 20 miles from Start Point at 2 a.m. on 01.01.1915. The first torpedo hit No 1 boiler, port side, a second explosion caused the ship to list heavily to starboard. Huge waves lashed the stricken ship, with strong winds, rain and hail, sinking in less than 2 hours.

Richardson Dunbar Leslie   Royal Navy  

The photo is that of Petty Officer Richardson D. Leslie, one of the Dundee men who went down in the battleship Formidable on New Year’s Day.

Leslie joined the Navy in 1896, and had considerable service in distant waters, chiefly on the Australian station.  In 1903, whilst attached to H.M.S. Mohawk, he took part in a Somaliland expedition, and had some thrilling experiences.

The British captain had been requested to investigate into the death of an Italian ship captain whom the natives had murdered.  The captain ordered Leslie to carry the British flag and accompany him ashore, along with the Italian standard-bearer.  On locating the enemy they were met by a murderous rifle fire, and at the very outset Captain Gaunt fell severely wounded in the leg, whilst the Italian standard-bearer, who was by Leslie’s side was shot dead.  Afterwards the British returned in force and soon settled the affair.

For his part in that expedition Leslie received the Somali Medal.

In 1907, being then a first-class petty officer, he was transferred to the Royal Fleet Reserve, and returning to Dundee, became a member of the City Police Force, in which he proved a most popular officer.  On the declaration of war Leslie was among the first to be called up.

While on the Formidable he was one of the quartermasters.  His untimely loss with the gallant crew of the Formidable is mourned by a large circle of friends, whose sympathy goes out to his widow and two little daughters, who reside at 3 Lorne Street, Lochee.

Dundee Courier 15th January 1915

Information supplied by Gary Thomson, Additional information and image courtesy of Dundee City Police Memorial booklet and Michael Caldwell

Can you tell us more about Richardson Dunbar Leslie? Some additional facts, a small story handed down through the family or perhaps a picture or an heirloom you can share online. Contact our curator...

THANK YOU for your interest in helping the Great War Dundee project. Please complete the short form below and a curator will contact you in the next few days.

    I am writing to: