Information about birth

Year of birth:
1887
Place of birth:
Longuyon, France, France

General information

Last known residence:
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Profession:
Bushman
Religion:
Roman Catholic

Army information

Country:
Australia
Force:
Australian Imperial Force
Rank:
Private
Service number:
2601
Enlistment date:
22/06/1915
Enlistment place:
Blackboy Hill, Western Australia, Australia
Units:
 —  Australian Infantry, 51st Bn.  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
26/09/1917
Place of death:
Brick Kiln & Yard, Zonnebeke, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)
Age:
30

Cemetery

Hagle Dump Cemetery
Plot: III
Row: F
Grave: 1

Distinctions and medals 2

Points of interest 4

#1 Place of birth
#2 Last known residence
#3 Enlistment place
#4 ‘Place of death’

My story

Leo George, a former bushman, was born in December 1887 in Longinjon, France. He was the son of Adolphus Charles George. On June 22, 1915 he enlisted in Blackboy Hill, Western Australia and he embarked from Fremantle on board HMAT A68 Anchises on September 2, 1915, with the 8th reinforcement of the 11th Battalion. He later joined the 51st Battalion, part of the 13th Australian Brigade of the 4th Australian Division.

The Division participated in the Battle of Polygon Wood on the 26th of September 1917, with two Brigades. The 4th Australian Brigade on the right of the Divisional front and the 13th on the left. The attack of the 13th Australian Brigade was carried by the 50th Australian Battalion; the 49th and the 51st Battalions were in support.

The 51st took up positions with the 49th Battalion on the right flank and the 2nd Battalion Suffolk Regiment, of the 3rd British Division, on the left. At 5.50 a.m. the allied artillery put down a heavy barrage 150 yards in front of the 50th Battalion. The barrage crept forward after five minutes, with the attacking Battalions behind it. Six minutes later they were followed by the 49th and 51st Australian Battalions. The Battalions of the 13th Brigade advanced down ANZAC Ridge through the valley of the Steenbeek, towards Anzac House and Tokio Spur on the left flank of Polygon Wood. The going was hard, because the terrain was boggy. The small stream of the Steenbeek, which served as a prewar irrigation canal, had turned the surrounding ground in a morass, as its banks had been destroyed by the relentless shelling. Consequently the rainwater had no way out and frequently inundated the lowlands. The men struggled and some off them sank knee-deep away in the mud. Small arms fire only inflicted small casualties, but the casualties, due to shelling were heavy.

Notwithstanding the boggy terrain and the fierce shelling, the men of the 49th and 51st Battalions moved through the 50th at their objective, the Red Line. And they advanced towards their own objective, the Blue Line, running from D.28.a.2.3 to D.28.b.7.5. They only encountered slight resistance on their way, and overran the Blue Line by 8.15 a.m. Capturing the brickyard on the Western outskirts of the village of Zonnebeke. The surviving Germans withdrew and the 51st Battalion started consolidating the Blue Line. The men were deployed along the line under heavy German shell- and machine gun fire. On the right flank, the 4th Brigade reached and consolidated their objectives. The whole 4th Australian Division was now in position in the vicinity of the hamlet of Molenaarelsthoek, facing the heavy fortified German defensive line Flandern I. The British 3rd Division on the left flank was held up 200 yards short of the crest of the Windmill Cabaret Ridge.

Strong points and Lewis gun emplacements were established along the line. A communication trench was dug and two mortars and two Vickers machine guns were positioned behind the frontline. The Germans started enfilading the Battalion’s position with machine gun fire from 9 a.m. on. The German artillery also started shelling the frontline. At first hesitatingly, but soon the Germans put down some heavy barrages on the frontline. Company “C” on the left flank suffered numerous casualties.

Leo, aged 30, was killed in action on September 26, 1917. Private George was initially buried where he fell, south of Brick Kiln & Yard (28.D.28.c.50.60). After the war, his remains were exhumed and reinterred in Hagle Dump Cemetery, Plot 3, Row F, Grave 1.

Sources 5

13th Brigade Australian Infantry (Australian War Memorial, Campbell (AWM), AWM4 23/3/20).
https://www.awm.gov.au/
Sources used
51st Battalion Australian Infantry (Australian War Memorial, Campbell (AWM), AWM4 23/68/19).
https://www.awm.gov.au/
Sources used
Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau (Australian War Memorial, Campbell (AWM), RCDIG1064166).
https://www.awm.gov.au/
Sources used
First Australian Imperial Force Personnel Dossiers, 1914-1920 (National Archives of Australia, Canberra (NAA), B2455).
https://www.naa.gov.au/
Sources used
Unit embarkation nominal rolls, 1914-18 War (Australian War Memorial, Campbell (AWM), AWM8).
https://www.awm.gov.au/
Sources used

More information 4