Gordon McLeish was born around 1893. After education at Harris Academy in Dundee, he enrolled at the Dundee Technical Institute to study Electrical Engineering in 1909. He undertook a course of study that included Maths, Machine Sketching, Engineering Geometry and Drawing, Electricity, Chemistry, Mechanics and Steam. He won the Armitstead Prize 3 times, also winning the Armitstead Medal in 1914 after completing his last course.
On the outbreak of War in August 1914, he joined the Scottish Horse (later 13 Battalion Black Watch), but in 1915 he was transferred to Elswick Ordnance Works in Newcastle to work in munitions using the skills he had gained at the Technical Institute. For the next 2 years he served as a plant electrician gaining a good knowledge of plant machinery and also high calibre naval and military guns.
He contacted the Principal of Dundee Technical College and School of Art in 1917 to request a reference for a transfer to become a sub-engineer in the Royal Navy and also to apply for his full Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Certificate. A note in his student record shows he was given the full certificate in October 1917, but later events show that his intentions did not go to plan.
At a date after October 1917 he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Air Force, and was stationed at 51st Training Depot Station, Training Squadron based at Shotwick. He died on 31 July 1918 when his aircraft a Sopwith Camel, E9973, crashed following a flight test.