Robert Leslie SINNAMON

SINNAMON, Robert Leslie

Service Number: 4300
Enlisted: 30 August 1915, Holsworthy, New South Wales
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 13th Infantry Battalion
Born: Oxley, Queensland, Australia, 11 June 1898
Home Town: Oxley, Brisbane, Queensland
Schooling: Seventeen Mile Rocks State School, Queensland, Australia
Occupation: Bank Clerk
Died: Killed in Action, France, 29 August 1916, aged 18 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Corinda Sherwood Shire Roll of Honor, Graceville War Memorial, Oxley War Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux Memorial (Australian National Memorial - France), Windsor War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

30 Aug 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 4300, Holsworthy, New South Wales
20 Dec 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 4300, 13th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
20 Dec 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 4300, 13th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Aeneas, Sydney
29 Aug 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 4300, 13th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières

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Biography contributed by Faithe Jones

Leslie Sinnamon was born into the large Sinnamon family that had taken up farming land around Seventeen Mile Rocks. His parents, George and Isabella lived at “Rosemount”, Oxley. Leslie attended Seventeen Mile Rocks State School and may then have become a Pupil Teacher at the school as he listed his occupation on his enlistment records as Bank Clerk, Teacher 3 years. Given that his age at the time was 18 years and 8 months it is reasonable to assume that his teaching was as a pupil teacher. Correspondence from his sister, Marion Xenos (nee Sinnamon) indicates that Leslie was living with his sister and her husband at Bowen Hills prior to enlistment. Marion was 19 years older than Leslie and she referred to him as “her boy” and “my son.”

Leslie enlisted on 20 August 1915 at Sydney Town Hall and was drafted as a reinforcement for the 13th Battalion, a NSW regiment. He sailed for Egypt on 20th December 1915 and joined the 13th Battalion in June 1916. The 13th was at that time being remodelled to accommodate the expansion of the AIF, with a mixture of old Gallipoli veterans and new reinforcements. The reconstituted battalion arrived at Marseilles on 8th June 1916 and moved directly to northern France.

Haig, Supreme Commander of the British Expeditionary Force had been assembling a huge force which he would employ in the “Big Push”, planned to begin on 1st July 1916. Despite suffering casualties of 60,000 on the first day, the Battle of the Somme continued, with limited gains and appalling casualties. By the end of that month, the Australian First and Second Divisions, at great cost, had taken Pozieres. It was now time for the 1st Division, of which the 13th Battalion was part, to go back into the line and continue the offensive North West along the ridge from Pozieres towards Mouquet Farm. The farm, which the Australians called “Moo Cow Farm” was nothing but a tumble of bricks, but it had deep cellars and the Germans had heavily fortified it.

The advance on the farm was difficult due to a narrow front and heavy artillery bombardment of the Australian trenches. On 29 August, almost one month since Pozieres had been taken but with less than one kilometre advanced since, Leslie Sinnamon was listed as missing after an aborted attack on the farm.

Leslie’s sister, Marion, was informed by telegram that he was “Missing”. She wrote to Army Base Records seeking further details but the reply simply stated there was no further news. Marion would have appeared to have searched newspapers in the hope of finding out more as she wrote again asking if one of a number of unidentified bodies recovered in France may be her “son”.

Some seven months after he was reported “Missing”; a Board of Enquiry established that Leslie Sinnamon was killed in Action on 29 August 1916. There are no Red Cross records to suggest that enquiries were made into Leslie and since seven months had now past, the possibility of him being wounded somewhere could be discounted. Marion requested that his personal effects, particularly a sheepskin jacket, be forwarded to her but she was informed that none have come to hand.

In an ultimate irony, when service medals were distributed at the end of the war, the strict military regulations stated that medals would first go to the father, then mother, then brothers, then sisters. As Leslie’s parents were still alive, it was they who signed for the receipt of the medals.

Private Robert Leslie Sinnamon, 13th Battalion is commemorated on the Oxley War Memorial, Brisbane and the Australian National Memorial, Villers Bretonneux.

Courtesy of Ian Lang

Mango Hill




Private Leslie Sinnamon, of Oxley, has forwarded an interesting letter to his mother (Mrs. G. Sinnamon), in the course of which he writes:—

"The language of the natives in Egypt is fairly easy to pick up, and I can hold a fairly long conversation with them now. I went to the Museum of Antiquities in Cairo, and was well repaid for my visit. I ought to have some interesting yarns to tell when I get back — if I do so safely. Being a soldier provides a splendid opportunity of seeing the world, and those fellows that talk about seeing it should enlist, if for that reason only. The Y.M.C.A. is a fine institution, and if people only knew it they would be doing the soldiers a splendid turn if they would trot along a few of those patriotic donations to the Y.M.C.A. They have great buildings erected throughout the various camps, where the soldier is catered for in every respect. They supply him with pen, pencils, paper, envelopes, ink, post cards, games, organise concerts, &c., and altogether cater for the soldier in every way. I am absolutely certain that these men, years and years after the war is over, will never forget the kindness of the Y.M.C.A. I may say that I feel in the pink of condition — weigh over 10st., and never felt better in my life. We get very good meals over here — eggs, sardines, salmon, butter, jam, &c. Tell all the boys to enlist." - from the Queenslander 13 May 1916 (

"Mrs. Howard Xenos has been notified by the military authorities that Private Leslie Sinnamon, who was posted as missing on August 29, 1916, is now reported as having been killed in action on August 29, 1916. Private Sinnamon sailed from Australia on December 20, 1915, was six months in Egypt, and went thence to France, where he took part in several engagements before making the supreme sacrifice..." - from the Cairns Post 29 Mar 1917 (