Leslie Alexander SCOULLER MM

Poppy

SCOULLER, Leslie Alexander

Service Number: 2778
Enlisted: 10 July 1915, Melbourne, Victoria
Last Rank: Lance Corporal
Last Unit: 8th Infantry Battalion
Born: Carpendeit, Victoria, Australia, 28 January 1893
Home Town: Colac, Colac-Otway, Victoria
Schooling: Moorbanool State School, Victoria, Australia
Occupation: Labourer
Died: Shell Fire, Killed In Action, Herleville Wood, France, 26 August 1918, aged 25 years
Cemetery: Heath Cemetery, Picardie
Heath Cemetery, Harbonnieres, Picardie, France
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Colac Soldier's Memorial
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World War 1 Service

10 Jul 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 2778, Melbourne, Victoria
27 Oct 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 2778, 24th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ulysses, Melbourne
27 Oct 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2778, 24th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
24 Feb 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Private, 8th Infantry Battalion
20 Sep 1917: Honoured Military Medal, Menin Road, During the attack on POLYGON WOOD east of YPRES on September 20th 1917. When his Section Commander was killed Pte SCOULLER took command and together with another section of Rifle Grenadiers, captured two enemy strong points. He displayed great initiative and set a splendid example to the men inspiring them with great confidence.
20 Sep 1917: Promoted AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, 8th Infantry Battalion
26 Aug 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, SN 2778, 8th Infantry Battalion, "The Last Hundred Days"

Extract of letter to his cousin 15 Nov 1917

Well Horace, old boy, I s’pose you’ve read & heard all about the heavy fighting on
the Flanders front lately & the Australians took a leading part in the first lot of
attacks. I won the Military Medal in the attack of Sept. 20th, for good work done in
the field & was also promoted to Lance Corporal after we came out. Was presented
with my ribbon by General Birdwood just before we went up to the front line this last
time.
Old “Birdy” shook hands & congratulated me & said he was sorry he didn’t have the
medals with him as they were not ready, & then handed me the ribbon. Felt a little
proud of my humble self for a while.

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Letter from battalion chaplin

Sep 1st 1918
France
September 1st, 1918
Dear Mr. Scouller.
You will have been informed officially before this reaches you that your son Leslie
was killed in action during our last engagement with the enemy. His place was
usually on Head Qtrs but N. C. O’s were needed in the front line and so he was placed
in charge of a post in front of Herleville Wood a place our battalion captured during
the engagement. While in charge he was struck by a shell and killed instantaneously.
Two of his comrades Cpl. W. Dunn and Pte. R. C. Allen buried him and tomorrow
afternoon they are taking up a cross to mark the sport. I am forwarding by registered
post his papers and ring which Pte. Allen obtained before he was buried. His watch I
shall forward officially. It will be safer that way as I have no means of wrapping it up
securely in the place we are stationed in at present. There was a postcard photo of
your son in his pocket which Pte. Allen desired to have, so I gave it to him, as he was
very much attached to his comrade and I judged that your son would have sent you
copies of it before. I can only close by expressing the hope that the God of all
comfort will soften the sorrow of your loss.

Sincerely yours
Wm. H. Irwin

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Showing 2 of 2 stories

Biography contributed by Colin Harrison

Letter from James Frame (Glasgow) to Elizabeth Scouller (Leslie's mother) following Leslie’s death. (Whenever he was on leave Les would travel up to Scotland to stay with his relatives).

21 Grafton Street, Glasgow, November 1918

My Dear Cousin,

It was with a very sad heart I read Ivy’s intimation of poor Leslie’s death. I had greatly feared something of the kind for about two months before. I had written several letters and had no reply and that was so unusual for him, but they were not returned and I still had a hope that whatever was wrong it would not turn out so serious as it has done. The last word we had from him was a letter to Lizzie Sloane a few days before the sad event happened. He had been back a bit, resting and was busy writing up some of his correspondence, he intended writing to me that day when orders came for them to go into the firing line again so he told Lizzie to let me know he was well but had not time to write that day but would write later on, he must have  been killed about two days afterwards. I got my last letter returned last week. Lizzie and Elsie McDonald sent him each a parcel about that time. Lizzie had had hers returned while Elsie’s has not come back yet. I sent word to most of his friends here and they all asked me to convey to you and yours their deepest sympathy in your great loss. I don’t know if I have ever met a more likeable man he had such a cheery and pleasant disposition and he was so mindful of others. How he used to speak of you all in such a happy was and his longing to see you all again. Aunt Mary and he used to have long talks together when I was out at business and she has a very high opinion of his character and his loss has been to her a very severe one, so what must it be to those near and dear to him. One’s sympathy at such time seems so utterly inadequate but I pray that God in his goodness may comfort and sustain you all in your sore bereavement. It seems so hard that he should be taken away after coming through over three years of warfare and when one may say now when the end was within sight, in our weakness we may fail to see God’s providence but He knows what is best and has prepared something better for our dear one and with the belief that we shall meet them again we can safely leave them in our Father’s keeping.

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Extracts from Les Scoullers diairy describing the August 1918 offensive.

Thursday 8th
The big push started that morning. Shifted from bivvys there and went further ahead where they advanced from. Stopped there that night.

Friday 9th
Packed up and left there that morning and went straight into action assisted by a number of tanks and machine gun fire. Was very hot and Fritz guns were firing at us point blank from top of the ridge. Carried our objectives together with prisoners and guns. Things were very willing that night on our own.

Saturday 10th
Fine day. The 5th went over the top of us that morning and claimed their objectives alright. We stopped on supports that night and got ready for hop out the next morning.

Sunday 11th
Hopped over that morning about 4 a.m. and advanced 1500 yards and gained our objective easily. Soon got Fritz running and when we charged them with bayonets he went like the devil. Captured three, 8 inch guns and a lot of machine guns. Were relieved that night by 5th Battalion and 3rd Battalion and went back and camped alongside a road. Fritz over and dropped heaps of bombs that night.

Friday 23rd
Took up position in support of 6th Battalion that morning and attacked the Hun at 4.45 a.m. Heaps of tanks went over with us and did good work. Gained all objectives and took a great number of prisoners. Got some good souvenirs that afternoon. Three revolvers, pair field glasses, razor, watch and …………… etc. Went into front line ……………… and were shelled a lot with gas shells, etc.

Saturday 24th
Cool day. Shelled a good deal that day.

This is the last entry in the diary. Les was killed in action on August 26th 1918

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Awarded the Military Medal (www.awm.gov.au);

"During the attack on POLYGON WOOD east of YPRES on September 20th 1917. When his Section Commander was killed Pte SCOULLER took command and together with another section of Rifle Grenadiers, captured two enemy strong points. He displayed great initiative and set a splendid example to the men inspiring them with great confidence."

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