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Leonard Ray Beal

Taken at Eastern Cemetery, Invercargill

Gravestone of L R Beal

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  • Title
  • Forenames
    Leonard Ray AWMM
  • Surname
    Beal AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
    • Snow AWMM
    • Beale AWMM
  • Service number
    40732 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    8 March 1919 AWMM InvercargillSouthland AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    WW2 Mrs. M.L. Beal (mother) AWMM
  • Relationship status


Wars and conflicts

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  • War
  • Campaign
  • Armed force / branch
    Army AWMM
  • Service number
    40732 AWMM
  • Military service
  • Promotions/ Postings/ Transfers

Military decorations

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Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • Enlistment
    WW2 Unknown AWMM Builder/Civilian AWMM
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment


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Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes

Last known rank

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  • Last rank

Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • Sapper L. R. Beal, MM; Invercargill; born Invercargill, 8 Mar 1919; builder. (Source: Cody, J.F. NZ Engineers, Middle East. p.544.)

    'Sixth Field Company was thus involved in making good five demolitions between the Rapido and the railway station. Demolition 8 was a damaged culvert 30 feet wide by 7 feet deep; No. 9 a blown-up subway; No. 10 was a huge gap 80 feet long by 10 deep, the largest demolition of all; Nos. 11 and 12 were inside the station yards and known only through aerial photographs.

    It was quite apparent to the sappers from the flares, the yells and the firing that the Maoris had not got their objectives. The minelifting party found that the 8 Field Company bridge-builders were working on the assumption that there were no mines; the embankment, the debris in the river and the bypass were thoroughly checked, but there were in fact no mines and the sweepers swept on. It was now about midnight and the position was that two dozers had crossed the Little Rapido and were working on Demolition 6 while Higginson's party was starting on Demolition 8, where a track had to be formed around one side of the obstacle so that a dozer could work from each end. The minesweepers, led by Sappers Beal and Hughes, who were accepting the risks of trip-wired anti-personnel concrete mines or the wooden Schu mines while concentrating on the tank-stopping Tellers, were up level with the fighting infantry at the entrance to the station yards. The determination and example of these two sappers were recognised in the next list of awards by MMs.' (Source: Cody, J.F. NZ Engineers, Middle East. p. 544.) AWMM
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About death

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  • Death
    16 January 1985 AWMM
    Age 65 AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    Eastern Cemetery, Invercargill AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name

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  • External links
    • 'The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the following awards in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Italy.' (London Gazette, 20 July 1944, p.3378.). Military Medal.
      Further Reference
    • 'During the attack on the railway station at CASSINO, Italy, on the night of 17-18 February 1944, Sapper Beal showed endurance and devotion to duty of a very high order. He was one of two leading Sappers operating mine detectors to clear a lane from the Rapido River to the railway station. As there was insufficient time to prod for the wooden anti-personnel Schu mines before passage of the bulldozers going up to deal with forward demolitions, Sapper Beal accepted the Schu-mine risk while searching out Tellermines which could have disabled the bulldozers and prevented the movement of other traffic. He was aware that the dozers were unlikely to suffer much damage from the Schu-mines, several of which had been found, and fully realised the dangerous position in which he was personally placed if he had walked on one of these. Notwithstanding the danger and in spite of the fact that the minefield area was under almost continual machine-gun and heavy mortar fire he worked with care and expedition and operated his detector for about two hours, in itself a feat of no mean endurance. By the time his task was completed the railway line was under particularly accurate and heavy mortaring which involved heavy casualties including the death of both his Commanding Officer and Sergeant, With total disregard for his own safety he rendered aid and assisted in carrying the wounded to safety. Throughout the night Sapper Beal set a splendid example and his personal efforts were no small contribution to the success of getting the bulldozers forward.'. (Source: The National Archives. Recommendation for Award for Beal, Leonard Ray. (Ref. WO 373/6/662). Military Medal.
      Further Reference
  • References
    • Sutherland, J. (1989). Gallantry awards to New Zealanders in World War Two. Christchurch, N.Z.: Regal Medals. AWMM
    • Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force. (1941). Nominal Roll Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force No. 4 (Embarkations from 1st April, 1941 to 30 June, 1941). Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
      WW2 4: WW2 25 AWMM
    • Cody, J.F. (1961). New Zealand Engineers, Middle East. Wellington, N.Z.: Department of Internal Affairs, War History Branch. AWMM
      p.544. AWMM


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01 June 2017PaulNew ZealandResearcher

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