Private Henry Kelleher was born on 26 December 1890 in Ireland to James and Mary (Dolan) Kelleher. He had three sisters and two brothers. Their father was a British civil servant who served in Bengal, India where he was a Magistrate. At the time Kelleher enlisted, his father had died and his mother was living in Goderich, Ontario.
Kelleher obtained a BA from Cambridge University in 1913 and was admitted to the Law Society as a law student in September of 1913. He was articling under Lieutenant Colonel Walter B. Kingsmill of the firm Saunders, Torrance & Kingsmill in Toronto, Ontario, who also enlisted.
In September of 1914, Kelleher enlisted with the 3rd (Toronto Regiment) Battalion. The 3rd Battalion was formed in September of 1914 from drafts from three Toronto Militia units, The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada, the 10th Royal Grenadiers and the Governor-General’s Bodyguard. The 3rd Battalion was part of the First Contingent that went overseas in October of 1914. After training in England, the Canadian Contingent went over to France in February of 1915. On the formation of the Canadian Corps, the 3rd Battalion served with 1st Canadian Infantry Brigade, 1st Canadian Division. Law Society of Upper Canada students Lieutenants George Lawrence MacKenzie, Henry Errol Platt and Thomas Herbert Sneath also served in the 3rd Battalion.
Kelleher was killed in action at Langemarck, Belgium on 24 April 1915 during the Second Battle of Ypres. On 22 April 1915, the enemy launched the first gas attack of WWI, which resulted in a break in the Front Lines. At midnight on 22 April 1914, the 2nd and 3rd Battalions were moved up to the Front Line. During intense fighting over the following days the 3rd Battalion suffered heavy casualties, including Kelleher. He was 24.
Kelleher is memorialized at Menin Gate (Ypres) Memorial (18-24-26-30) in Belgium.
Shea, E. Patrick; Gowling, Lafleur, Henderson (Firm); and Highlanders Foundation, “The Great War Law Student Memorial Project” (2014). Digital Texts. 2.