Leonard Ray ADAMS

ADAMS, Leonard Ray

Service Number: 4051
Enlisted: 11 December 1915, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 27th Infantry Battalion
Born: Edwardstown South Australia Australia, 20 June 1896
Home Town: Edwardstown, Marion, South Australia
Schooling: Edwardstown Public School & Adelaide High School, SA
Occupation: Civil Service clerk
Died: Killed in Action (attack on the Windmill), Pozieres Picardie France, 4 August 1916, aged 20 years
Cemetery: Courcelette British Cemetery
IV. B. 17., Courcelette British Cemetery, Picardie, France
Memorials: Adelaide Commissioner of Public Works Roll of Honour, Adelaide High School Honour Board, Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Edwardstown District WW1 Roll of Honor
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World War 1 Service

11 Dec 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 4051, Adelaide, South Australia
9 Mar 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 4051, 27th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
9 Mar 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 4051, 27th Infantry Battalion, RMS Mongolia, Adelaide
4 Aug 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 4051, 27th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières

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Surname: ADAMS; Given Names: Leonard Ray; Date of Birth: 20 June 1896; Date of Enlistment: 11 December 1915; Trade or Calling: Clerk Civil Service; Birth Location: Edwardstown; Address prior to enlistment: Price St Edwardstown; Photograph sent by: Alfred Adams
Source: State Records SA


Leonard Adams enlisted in Adelaide in late 1915 after the reality of what had happened at Gallipoli was all too apparent.  The men who enlisted subsequent to the publication of the extensive casualty lists and the widely publicised loss of notable men from every community in Australia were known as "fair dunkums', under no illusions that this was some kind of adventure.

By the time he arrived in France, the AIF was redeploying for their first operational taskings.  The Second Division, of which the 27th Battalion and its parent Brigade the 7th, were part, had cycled through the Armentieres secor (or the 'nursery' as it was known).  The men of the 27th Battalion found themsevles engaged in acouple of 'stunts' near Messines in southern Belgium before moving south to the Somme in early July, immediately after the catastrophic "First Day of the Somme" in which the British and Dominion forces lost 20,000 killed and 60,000 wounded in just one day.

The First Second and Fourth Divisions of the AIF were relocated to the vicinity of Pozieres, a small village on the Albert-Bapaume Roman Road.  It had been reduced to rubble by successive German and British artillery bombardments.  Just to the north east lay the strategic high ground topped by a 17th Century Windmill, or rather its ruins, which commanded excellent observation across to Thiepval, the objective of the British assault on 1 July.  By the 23rd July Thiepval and Pozieres were still in German hands, and tens of thousands of men had died in the contest for the possession of each.

Although elements of the Second Division were first to deploy, it was the First Division was the first to be committed on the 23rd July.  It was an unprecedented maelstrom which is described more fully in the campaign descriptor (Pozieres  / Mouquet Farm).

The 27th Battalion's culminating point came on the 4th August when it formed the left flank of the Second Division attack on the Windmill feature - indeed the 27th Battalion's axis of advance took it right over the Windmill ruins.  The 27th Battalion captured and held the ruins against unrelenting German shelling and counter attack until they were relieved by the 48th Battalion who reported no one left alive in the 27th Battalion's forward positions.

It was here that Leonard Adams met his fate.  He was one of many 27th Battalion fatalities that day.  His body was recovered and interred at the nearby Courcellette British Cemetery, in low ground and to the NE of the windmill. He and his colleagues were to be joined 82 years later in 1998 by another of their number, Private Russell Bosisto, whose remains had lain in the ground near the windmill since that fateful day in 1916.

British War medal

Victory Medal

Commemorative Plaque


Steve Larkins Nov 2013