Leonard Ambrose (Len) SIEBEN

Badge Number: S3935, Sub Branch: Railways
S3935

SIEBEN, Leonard Ambrose

Service Numbers: 1058, S67725
Enlisted: 27 April 1915, Keswick, South Australia
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 1st (Qld) Battalion Volunteer Defence Corps
Born: North Adelaide, South Australia, 11 July 1891
Home Town: Port Adelaide, Port Adelaide Enfield, South Australia
Schooling: Nairne Public School
Occupation: Clerk
Died: Natural causes (heart attack), Croydon Park, South Australia, 9 August 1951, aged 60 years
Cemetery: Dudley Park Cemetery
Memorials: Adelaide South Australian Railways WW1 & WW2 Honour Boards, Gawler Council Gawler Men Who Answered the Call WW1 Roll of Honor, Prospect Roll of Honour G-Z WWI Board, Riverton Methodist Church Honour Roll WW1, Tailem Bend and District Honour Roll
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World War 1 Service

27 Apr 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 1058, Keswick, South Australia
31 May 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 1058, 27th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
31 May 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 1058, 27th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Geelong, Adelaide
16 Sep 1919: Discharged AIF WW1, Sapper, SN 1058, 2nd Divisional Signal Company

World War 2 Service

1 May 1942: Enlisted Citizen Military Forces (CMF) / Militia - WW2, Private, SN S67725, Volunteer Defence Corps (VDC), Adelaide, South Australia
2 May 1942: Involvement Citizen Military Forces (CMF) / Militia - WW2, Private, SN S67725, 1st (Western Adelaide) Battalion Volunteer Defence Corps, Homeland Defence - Militia and non deployed forces
7 Jan 1944: Discharged Citizen Military Forces (CMF) / Militia - WW2, Private, SN S67725, 1st (Qld) Battalion Volunteer Defence Corps

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Biography

Leonard Ambrose Sieben was born in North Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia on the 11th of July, 1891. He was a very talented pianist all his life and won many competitions that he competed in, he brought his piano talent into the war by forming a band that played during the war. Like many others in those days, Leonard was very short, being only 5"4 and weighing 60kg upon embarkation.

Leonard served for Australia in WW1, enlisting on the 23rd of April at the age of 23. According to Leonard's personal diary, "I marched into camp wearing a white collar, but it drew such a heap of abuse that I got rid of it as soon as I could".

He embarked on the HMAT Troopship A2, "Geelong" going to Egypt. Leonard, better known as Len, arrived in Egypt on the 31st of May, 1915. He spent the majority of his service in the 27th Battalion but often changed battalions to offer his service. Len was a Sapper, who usually worked on clearing mine-fields and specialist engineering. As Len was a good engineer he was enrolled into the 2nd Division Signal Company where he had the job of passing on messages and controlling communication among trenches. 

In 1915, Len fought in the famous campaign of Gallipoli and his diary tells of the challenges that Gallipoli brought to the Australian soldiers. Gallipoli was one of the biggest battles in Australian war history, creating more than 26,000 casualties. Len survived Gallipoli but many of his close friends who he grew up with died in the battle.

In 1916, after Gallipoli, Len went back to the main training base in Egypt with the Australian soldiers and trained there until their duties were needed. In March 1916, Len went off to fight in Belgium and stayed there until the end of the year. Again, he survived that war and with the Australian soldiers travelled off to France to serve in 1917. According to Len’s diary it was not until France, 1918, where he was fighting in the grounds of 'Baizieux Chateau' where the "Fritz" (Germans) were sending over high explosives in short amounts of time. Len was standing right next to the area in which the Germans threw over a bomb and Len flew into the air and right back to on the ground. In his diary, on Friday 12th of April, Len claims that he had to decide whether he was dead or alive all in one instance. He decided he was alive and rose to his feet, only to find out his legs could not support his body and he fell back to the ground. A motor ambulance took him to the 13th field Ambulance where he was only to find out he broke parts of his spine, his collarbone and his shoulder blade. It was not until November of that year, 1918, that Len returned to service and out of hospital. 

Len returned home in 1919, surviving many ferocious battles. Len's story is a story of courage and bravery and one that will remembered for years to come. 

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