Leslie Leister (1894-1916), the half-brother of my husband’s grandfather, was one of the 2,000 soldiers killed at the battle of Fromelles one hundred years ago on 19 and 20 July 1916 and one of the 250 soldiers who were buried in a mass grave by the Germans after the battle.
There are now more newspapers digitised and available through Trove. Among more recently digitised newspapers is the Western Champion from Parkes, New South Wales, Leslie’s home place. The Western Champion includes a photograph of Leslie in its article about Leslie’s fate.
The article also explains the creation of the list that Leslie was included on which was compiled by the Germans from the identity discs of the soldiers they buried. It was only in late 1916 that soldiers were issued with two identity discs. When the Germans buried Leslie and the other soldiers they took the identity discs to compile the list and notify the British that they had done so. Thus there was no disc with the body.
In 2010 Leslie was among the soldiers identified when the mass grave created by the Germans in a hurry during the battle was excavated. A cousin’s DNA was used to identify him. He has been reburied in the new cemetery at Fromelles. The inscription we chose for his grave is the same one used to remember him on his family’s grave at Parkes.
|FOR KING AND COUNTRY. (1917, March 29). Western Champion (Parkes, NSW : 1898 – 1934), , p. 8. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article113524459|