Lieutenant Leslie Ion Stuart



Stuart at Antrim in 1915 or 1916


Leslie Ion Stuart was born 8 October 1888 at 562 Spadina Avenue, Toronto, Canada, the son of Henry and Barbara Frances Stuart, and a nephew of Rear Admiral Leslie Stuart CMG. He was educated at Monkton Combe School, Bath, from 1901-06, where he was noted as an excellent athlete, especially in gymnastics. He also excelled at shooting.

When the war began Stuart was sheep farming in Australia. He returned home to Mount Earl, Ballymena and on 3 November 1915 applied for a commission in the North Irish Horse. He was appointed a 2nd lieutenant a fortnight later and joined his regiment at its reserve depot at Antrim.

Stuart embarked for France on 26 July 1916, where he joined the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment in the field at Pas. He was promoted to lieutenant on 1 July 1917 (with seniority from 15 July 1916).

In February-March 1918 the 1st North Irish Horse was dismounted and converted to a corps cyclist regiment. This left around a quarter of the officers and men of the regiment surplus to requirements. Between 1 and 13 March nine officers and 66 other ranks left the regiment, all but three of the latter reporting for duty at the Machine Gun Base Depot at Camiers. However following heavy losses in the German offensive at the end of March, most were attached as reinforcements to regular cavalry units of the 1st Cavalry Division. The war diary of the 8th (King's Royal Irish) Hussars noted on 3 April that two officers and 30 other ranks from the North Irish Horse joined the regiment, one of those being Lieutenant Stuart.

Stuart contracted ‘colitis’ at Arras on 25 August 1918 and was sent on sick leave to the UK, returning to France in October. He was demobilised on 11 May 1919 and relinquished his commission on 1 April 1920.

After the war he returned to Australia, where he managed his uncle George's 50,000 acre sheep station, Goolgumbla, in the Riverina district of NSW. He died at Woolahra, Queensland, on 16 October 1962.


Stuart's brothers also served as officers during the war - Lieutenant-Commander Charles Gage Stuart RN, DSO DSC, and Captain William Bruce George Stuart, 12th Royal Irish Rifles, killed during the Battle of Cambrai in November 1917.

His cousin Francis Stuart, was the brilliant but controversial novelist and poet.


Leslie Stuart (right, standing) as part of the Monkton Combe School First Gymnasium IV in 1905.


I am grateful to Mrs Elizabeth Hardinge for providing the first image, and to Sean O'Connor for his help in arranging this and for providing much helpful family information. Second image sourced from contributor Rachel Magowan. I am grateful to Caroline Bone, Alumni & Information Officer at Monkton Combe School, Bath, for providing the third image.