Leslie Reginald Anlezark

Leslie Reginald Anlezark was born in February 1889, the youngest of eleven children born to Thomas Ainsworth Anlezark and his wife Mary Jane (nee Handley).

During the 1870s Leslie’s father Thomas was employed as a wheelwright by Cobb and Co. in Bourke, and it was in Bourke that Leslie’s mother, Mary Jane, died in 1894.

When war was declared in August 1914 Leslie attempted to enlist, but was rejected due to defective eyesight. The following year he was one of twenty-two men who joined the Coo-ees when they arrived in Orange on Saturday, 23 October 1915.

Conceived by Captain “Bill” Hitchen of Gilgandra, the Coo-ee March was a recruitment drive in response to dwindling enlistments following the heavy casualties sustained on the Gallipoli Peninsula and in the trenches of France. On 10 October 1915 Hitchen left Gilgandra with 25 men to march the 515km to Sydney, collecting recruits along the way. A total of 264 recruits reached Martin Place in Sydney at noon on Friday 12 November, where they were greeted by Prime Minister Billy Hughes and a crowd of 100,000 people.

Leslie proceeded to Liverpool camp where he served as a platoon sergeant. He embarked Star of England in Sydney in March 1916, disembarking in Egypt the following month. Private Anlezark served in France and Belgium. In October 1916 he wrote “a very breezy letter” to his brother Fred describing the heady excitement of life in the trenches.

Leslie was hospitalised several times during his war service; during 1916 with influenza and trench foot; and the following year having sustained a gunshot wound to the right arm.

In September 1917 Leslie’s father, now living in McLachlan Street, received a letter from Dr Colvin advising him that his son had been wounded and was recovering in hospital in England, where he had been visited by Sir Neville Howse.

Leslie returned to Australia in May 1919. In 1923 he married Lavinia Beatrice Rogers (Rene); the couple had two daughters: Muriel and Ilma.

Leslie worked at the Orange Municipal Council power house for 20 years, and then the Orange Producers Rural Co-operative, before moving to Sydney in the late 1940s.

In late December 1966 Leslie and his family returned to Orange to attend the funeral of a relative. On 30 December they left Orange to return to their home in Daceyville in when their station sedan collided with a truck on the Great Western Highway at Mount Lambie. Leslie was taken to Lithgow Hospital where he died the following day from his injuries.

Leslie is commemorated on the Holy Trinity Church Orange Honour Roll and the Orange East Public School Honour Roll.

1915 Coo-ee March – Leslie Anlezark

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This entry was posted on September 29th, 2015.