Serial No. 2596
13th Battalion & 45th Battalion
Leslie Garling - Information
The Garlings had resided in the Camden area, where Leslie was born in 1881. His parents Clarence William and Mary Katherine then relocated the family to 107 Spencer Rd in Mosman. Here, Leslie attended Cleveland St Public School. When he was older, he continued on with the family tradition, working as a bank clerk. After Leslie’s father died, he and his brothers helped to support their mother and the rest of their family. Leslie then decided to serve his country, enlisting in the AIF on the 15th of June 1915 in Liverpool. During training, he was posted as a Private to the 8th Reinforcements, 13th Battalion. He was then sent overseas from Sydney onboard the HMAT Runic on the 9th of August 1915.
Leslie arrived in Egypt as a Lance Corporal, but reverts to Private on meeting the 13th Battalion at Mudros, Lemnos Island on the 23rd of October. He and his unit were then transported to Gallipoli in early November. On the 8th of November, Leslie was again appointed Lance Corporal. At the time, a ghastly blizzard hit the troops in the trenches as the temperature declined dramatically. With the terrible weather and British High Command refusing reinforcements, the Gallipoli Campaign was called off in December. Leslie and his unit found themselves back in Alexandria in January 1916. However, the exposure he experienced at Gallipoli affected Leslie’s health, and he reported to the 3rd Auxiliary Hospital with tonsillitis in mid February. A week later, he rejoined his unit at Tel-el-Kebir Camp. On the 3rd of March, he was promoted Corporal and transferred to the 45th Battalion. The next day, he was promoted to Sergeant. Leslie had proven to be a very capable and effective soldier. A few days later, on the 12th of March, he was appointed 2nd Lieutenant. In early June, the 45th Battalion were transported to Marseilles, France to face the Germans on the Western Front. Shortly after arrival, the I ANZAC Corps consisting of the 1st, 2nd, and 4th Divisions were mustered to reinforce the British during the Somme Campaign. The 45th Battalion as part of the 4th Division relieved the 2nd after they had taken the OG line and the village of Pozières in early August. At the time, the Germans launched a ruthless counter-attack and the salient was fired upon by three sides. During these attacks, Leslie was promoted to Lieutenant in the field on the 18th of August. Almost two weeks later, the 4th Division returned, launching an assault at Mouquet Farm but were repelled, suffering many casualties. On the 10th of October, Leslie was mentioned in despatches, on behalf of Major General Cox, 4th Australian Division, for consistent good work as platoon leader both in and out of the trenches, and leading his men effectively under fire. After surviving through a very bitter winter, the 45th Battalion were brought up against the Germans during the Battle of Messines in Belgium. At the time, Leslie was the Commanding Officer of C Company. However, just as the battle was underway, he went missing in action of the 7th of June.
Leslie’s younger brother, Gerald, who was now a Sergeant in the Field Artillery began making enquiries as to what happened to Leslie. Witnesses proclaimed that as he and his men were waiting to advance towards the German position about 3pm on the 7th of June, an artillery shell came over. Leslie was concurrently hit in the face with shrapnel. Alive but in pain, he and other wounded boys waited in a shell hole to be taken behind the lines. He was then hit again by a bullet through the lungs and died shortly after. Some witnesses believed that he was hit a total of three or four times by rapid machine gun fire. The army acquiesced that he was killed in action on the 7th of June 1917 near Messines. Dissatisfied with the lack of information and length of time in receiving this news, two of Leslie’s brothers and a sister went to London to interview these witnesses. Sadly, the whereabouts of his body is unknown. His name is inscribed on the Menin Gate Memorial in Ieper, (Ypres) in Belgium. His poor mother had lost her husband and now two sons to the war. Leslie’s affairs were handled by his brother, Henry Chester Master Garling, the executor of his will. Henry was a solicitor and partner in Gordon & Garling on Moore St in Sydney.