Educated at North Sydney Church of England Grammar School, Leonard William Glandfield Last was a four year apprentice surveyor with RP Atkins in Sydney when he enlisted at Holsworthy on 8 August 1915. Leonard nominated his mother, Fanny, as his next of kin, his father having died earlier in the year.
Leonard was assigned to the 18th Battalion, D Company as a private. On 1 January 1916 he was appointed a gunner with the 11th Field Artillery Brigade.
Gunner Last embarked from Sydney for overseas duty on 14 April 1916 and proceeded to the Western Front in June 1916. Later that month he was promoted to Acting Sergeant. He also served with the 2nd Division Ammunition Column and the 22nd Field Artillery Brigade. Leonard was killed in action in France on 23 December 1916, aged 23; he is buried in Delville Wood Cemetery at Longueval.
In August 1917 Leonard’s mother received a package containing her son’s personal effects: two identity discs, a Bible, an air cushion, a money belt, a wallet, some photographs, two mirrors, a hair brush, a bone rule, a pair of scissors, a cigarette holder, four keys, a letter, a note book, visiting cards, his unit colours, Post Office receipts, a button, money order receipts, paper cuttings, two badges and a religious book.
Fanny Last wrote several letters to the War Office regarding her son’s bravery. She stated “soldiers make a great mistake in not telling their great and noble deeds in war” when she completed the Particulars Required for the Roll of Honour in the Memorial War Museum document.
Fanny passed away in Orange in August 1932, and is buried in Orange Cemetery. Her grave includes a commemorative plaque in honour of Leonard. He is also commemorated on the west face of the Mosman War Memorial and the memorial panels at St Luke’s Anglican Church in Mosman.