Robert Leckie

Portrait of Robert Leckie

Robert Leckie (1890-1975) was born in 1890 in Glasgow, Scotland. He learned to fly in Toronto and piloted a flying boat (or seaplane) that ran antisubmarine patrols during the beginning of the First World War. Leckie is the only airman credited with downing two German Zeppelins. On May 14, 1917, he downed Zeppelin L22, and on August 6, 1918, he downed Zeppelin L70, killing the pilot, Peter Strasser. Strasser was the head of the German Imperial Navy's Zeppelin force. Leckie earned the Distinguished Service Order, the Distinguished Service Cross and Distinguished Flying Cross during his wartime service. By the end of the war, he was a wing commander. After the First World War Leckie continued his service in the Royal Air Force, commanding the British Air Forces in the Mediterranean from 1938 until 1940. By the end of the Second World War he was an air marshal and played an active role in the Canadian Cadet movement. He died in Ottawa, on March 31, 1975, at the age of 84.

Service Record Details

Attestation Papers

Date of Birth: April 16, 1890 (Glasgow, Scotland)

Date of Attestation: April 1, 1919 (London, England)

Age at Enlistment: 28 years, 11 months

Height: Not indicated

Weight: 9 stone, 9 pounds (135 pounds)

Description: Presbyterian.

Home Address: No. 1 Canadian Wing, Royal Air Force, Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex, England

Trade: Not indicated

Married: No

Details of Family: Sister, Mary Leckie, in care of John Leckie Ltd., in Toronto, Ontario.

Next of Kin: Mary Leckie—Sister

Branch of Service: Canadian Air Force

Theatre of War: France

Casualties / Medical History

  • None indicated

Interesting Details from the Service Record

  • July 15, 1918 – A report from the Royal Air Force, completed in Great Yarmouth, England, provides details about Leckie’s service history and his physical condition. He has flown a total of 450 hours with the Royal Air Force, at an average height of 2000 feet. He does not smoke, does not drink alcohol, and is in good overall condition. (Page 11)

The London Gazette

The London Gazette—Supplement 31555, Page 11653, September 16, 1919
1st Central Ontario Regt. Temp. Lt.-Col. R. Leckie, D.S.O., D.S.C., D.F.C., relinquishes his commn. in the O.M.F. of C. on appt. to a commn. in the R.A.F. 31 Aug. 1919.”

Military Medals Honours and Awards

  • Distinguished Service Order
  • Distinguished Service Cross
  • Distinguished Flying Cross

Census Records

  • 1911 Census
    In 1911, Robert Leckie is 21 years old and living in West Toronto with his mother, Annie Leckie (50), and two sisters, Mary (24) and Annette (15). The family is Presbyterian and emigrated from Scotland two years earlier, in 1909. A lodger in the house, George P(?) (25), emigrated the same year.

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