Private Thomas Lechow

Birth: November 12, 1878 in Nicaragua
Death: September 29, 1918 in France
Service: WWI
Regimental Number: 790045

Thomas Lechow enlisted in New Westminster on March 24, 1916, aged 38, giving his occupation as longshoreman. Thomas was already serving in the 104th Regiment of the Active Militia and living in Steveston.

On enlistment, Thomas joined the 131st Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force and embarked for England on board the SS Caronia, arriving in Liverpool on November 11, 1916. While on board he reported sick to the doctor and was diagnosed with pneumonia. After some time in the hospital in Liverpool, recovery and training in Seaford, he finally arrived in France on November 17, 1917, where he was transferred to the 7th Battalion C.E.F. In January 1918, Private Lechow was granted fourteen days leave in Paris but shortly after his return to his unit, he had to forfeit five days pay for "losing, by neglect, his iron rations." He was arrested on August 25, 1918 for being drunk on Active Service and his trial date was September 11, 1918. Prior to his trial, the 7th Battalion was involved in an advance against the enemy. According to the published citation "Private Lechow noticed two of the enemy mounting a machine gun on the parapet of a truck, rushed forward into our own barrage and captured the men and the gun. This prompt initiative undoubtedly saved his platoon many casualties and earned him the Distinguished Conduct Medal." 

On September 11, Thomas Lechow was tried, found guilty and sentenced to 28 days in Field Prison No. 1. He died on September 28, 1918 of wounds received in action and was awarded the D.C.M. posthumously on March 3, 1919. An unsuccessful attempt was made to deliver his medals, accumulated pay in the amount of $249 and personal effects to his family.  Thomas Lechow left his effects to his mother, Mrs. Johana Lechew, Corinthia, Nicaragua.

History of the Road Name (Lechow Street):

  • Council Resolution to adopt road name: Council minutes May 10, 1999