LORD JOHN LEONARD (1909-1983) – life peer in Britain.

John, the son of an RIC man, was born in Manorhamilton on 19th October 1909 and christened in St. Clare’s Church four days later.  On completing his primary schooling at the age of thirteen, he secured a job in a small local engineering firm and became a skilled fitter.  In his early twenties he went to Belfast, where he found work as a motor mechanic.  He loved engines and spent several years as an aircraft technician at the Irish Air Corps headquarters at Baldonnel Aerodrome in Co. Dublin.  John emigrated to Britain in 1940 and got a job in an aircraft factory at Speke near Liverpool.  He later moved to Cardiff where he found employment in Curran’s munitions factory.  In 1954 he established the Cardiff Sheet Metal and Engineering Company which specialised in stainless steel fabrication.  John made his political debut in 1971.  Standing for Labour, he won the Central Ward seat in a Cardiff City Council by-election.  Three years later he was elected to the South Glamorgan County Council, where he was chosen to head the finance committee, which had a budget of £40 million.  Although an ardent life-long Irish republican, he was conferred with an OBE in 1976 as a reward for his public services in South Wales.  He was created a life peer with the title Baron Leonard of the City of Cardiff in 1978 and spent the next five years in the House of Lords.  When he died in 1983 he was survived by his wife Glenys and two children.  The above image is of John dressed in his robes on the occasion of his introduction in the House of Lords on 14th June 1978.