Leslie Sydney BEDFORD


BEDFORD, Leslie Sydney

Service Number: 5252
Enlisted: 9 June 1915
Last Rank: Driver
Last Unit: 1st Field Artillery Brigade
Born: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, November 1893
Home Town: Manly, Manly Vale, New South Wales
Schooling: Kogarah State School, New South Wales, Australia
Occupation: Station Hand
Died: Shell Blast, Flers, France, 31 October 1916
Cemetery: Bulls Road Cemetery, Flers
Plot III, Row K, Grave No. 5
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Manly War Memorial NSW
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World War 1 Service

9 Jun 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Driver, SN 5252, Field Artillery Brigades
9 Sep 1915: Involvement Driver, SN 5252, 1st Field Artillery Brigade
9 Sep 1915: Embarked Driver, SN 5252, 1st Field Artillery Brigade, HMAT Ballarat, Melbourne
31 Oct 1916: Involvement Driver, SN 5252, 1st Field Artillery Brigade

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Biography contributed by Evan Evans

From François Berthout
On the old battlefields of the Somme, the poppies grow and bloom and remind us every day that here, on these fields which are now peaceful and silent, millions of men fought and fell so that we can to live in a world in peace, they came from very far to save France which was saved thanks to them and who will be eternally grateful to them, we who today have the privilege of watching over the graves of these courageous young men who gave so much, we will tell the story of those heroes who, young and brave, gave their lives, I would give mine so that they would never be forgotten and today, it is with gratitude that I would like to honor the memory of one of these young men. 

I would like to pay a very respectful tribute to Driver number 5252 Leslie Sydney Bedford who fought in the 1st Brigade of the Australian Field Artillery and who was killed in action 104 years ago, on October 31, 1916 at the age of 22 on the Somme front.

Leslie Sydney Bedford was born in 1893 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, and was the son of Mabel Marian Davis Bedford and Leslie John, of "Arrandoon", Cameron Street, Manly, New South Wales. Leslie was educated in Kogarah State School, New South Wales, Australia, and before the outbreak of the war, he was single and lived at 6, Cameron Street, Manly, New South Wales where he worked as a station hand.

Enlisted on June 9, 1915 in the Australian Field Artillery, Brigade 1, Reinforcement 9, he embarked with his unit from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A70 Ballarat on September 9, 1915 and sailed for Egypt where he arrived on November 14, 1915 in Alexandria then embarked on board Themistocles on November 21, 1915 for the Gallipoli peninsula. Two months later, Leslie returned to Egypt and served in Ismailia. On March 21, 1916, he joined the British Expeditionary Force and embarked with his unit from Alexandria and sailed for France and arrived in Marseilles on March 27, 1916 and was sent to the Somme front.

Leslie fought with great courage in the Somme but unfortunately, seven months later, in Flers, in the afternoon of October 31, 1916, while he was taking ammunition, a shell fell near him and he was instantly killed. he was 22 years old.

Today, Leslie Sydney Bedford rests in peace with his friends, comrades and brothers in arms at Bulls Road Cemetery, Flers, Somme, and his grave bears the following inscription "He died that we might live".
Leslie, you who were so young but already so brave, I wish to say thank you from the bottom of my heart, so far from home, you answered the call of duty to come and fight on the soils of France, in the icy and muddy trenches of the Somme which saw so much blood shed by courageous young men who gave their strength and courage in the battles, they fought with determination and perseverance through the worst horrors and the worst battles of the great war,The Somme, this name alone immediately makes us think of a bloodbath but also of the courage and acts of bravery that took place day after day through this hell and in which lived and fell a whole generation of men who faced death , the fury, the violence and the suffering of a world that was consumed by flames and darkness, young and brave, they always moved forward with an invincible ardor and with the hope that shone deep in their hearts, with the love of their country and their families, they faced storms of fire and steel under the apocalypse of a rain of bullets and shells, they saw their friends, their fathers, their brothers who fell day after day but never gave up, the war took the youth and the innocence of these men who wanted to live and who tried to survive, they all served with honor and gave more than a man can give. Today they rest in peace in cemeteries and the old battlefields of the Somme on which the poppies never stop blooming, in the silence they stand in front of us, ghosts of the past but always living near us so that they will be remembered, so that they will never be forgotten, they are today my heroes, my boys of the Somme whom I want to know by walking in their footsteps to know who they were and what they did but also to understand the war in which they sacrificed so much. by walking in front of their graves, in serene silence, I close my eyes and I can hear their whispers in which they ask us to never forget them,then my tears start to flow because I can see their faces, they are not only names on graves but they were men, each with a story and I think the best proof of respect we can give and show these men is to tell their story, they were soldiers but above all men, human beings who gave their tomorrow and their lives so that we can live today.Today, Australia and France are united by a very strong bond and an indestructible friendship and I feel proud and happy to be considered as Australian even if I am French, I will always proudly carry the Flame of Remembrance and the colors of Australia on this land of France who will always be grateful to all these young men who, by their courage, their heroism and their sacrifices, have given us the invaluable chance to live in a world at peace in which we must remain united for them, to show them that we protect the peace for which they fought and fell, I will always be present for them and for their families for whom I will always give my heart and my devotion and my energy. Thank you Leslie, from the bottom of my heart, you will never be forgotten.At the going down of the sun and in the morning,we will remember him,we will remember them.