Frederick Sydney Leech, my paternal grandfather
He tried to join up but was rejected due to his severe varicose veins, but as he came from a family of timber importers based in Preston Docks, he managed to join his Uncle Robert Robinson & Son's firm of civil engineers as a timber expert, and was sent to the Wimereaux area of France to build underground hospitals, defences and support facilities. I have photograph of him on the slopes of a man-made "hill" in the centre of a large group of workers, probably mostly miners and artisans, all frozen in a pose for the photographer. I know nothing about the rest of his War record.
He was in charge of at least 50 men, and definitely NOT in uniform, NOT in the Labour Corps, and therefore NOT a private. He was a civilian employed by his uncle Robert Robinson & Son's civil engineering firm.
Definitely not in uniform. I was told that he was a civilian volunteer working for his uncle Bob Robinson's Civil Engineering Co. building underground hospitals and other defended sites in the Wimereux district of northern France.
P J Tipton commented
I am working on the possibility that your grandfather's #LifeStory is
He was 39 in in Aug 1914 and 41 in 1916 so marginal for Kitchener's Army in 1914 and conscription in 1916. But I have found that many 'over-age' men, and those who had failed the medical, joined the Labour Corps after it was formed in January 1917 - because of (a) their wish to do something for the war effort and (b) because of their particular technical expertise. This seeding document would therefore fit the circumstances you mention: (1) he failed the medical - the Liverpool Regiment might have been his natural local choice. He would have had Attestation Papers even though he was discharged almost immediately on health grounds (2) if he joined the Labour Corps later he would have declared failing to get into the Liverpool Regiment. You say he was sent to build underground hospitals etc in France. If this was after Jan 1917 these hospitals would have been built by the Labour Corps http://www.1914-1918.net/labour.htm. If your grandfather was in some sort of uniform in the photograph this would certainly add weight to my hypothesis. Quite a few service documents do survive for the Labour Corps, but I have yet to find one
Peter Tipton, IWM Volunteer