Leslie Sylvester BULL MM

BULL, Leslie Sylvester

Service Number: 5809
Enlisted: 15 July 1915, He had enlisted into the A.I.F and then embarked for active service abroad.
Last Rank: Corporal
Last Unit: 1st Field Artillery Brigade
Born: Eaglehawk, Victoria, Australia, July 1895
Home Town: Eaglehawk, Greater Bendigo, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Miner
Memorials: Eaglehawk Loyal Catherine Lodge Honour Roll WW1
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World War 1 Service

15 Jul 1915: Enlisted Australian Army (Post WW2), Private, SN 5809, 1st Field Artillery Brigade, He had enlisted into the A.I.F and then embarked for active service abroad.
11 Oct 1915: Involvement Driver, SN 5809, 1st Divisional Ammunition Column
11 Oct 1915: Embarked Driver, SN 5809, 1st Divisional Ammunition Column, HMAT Nestor, Melbourne
12 Nov 1915: Transferred Australian Army (Post WW2), Driver, 1st Field Artillery Brigade, He was transfered from the 61st Company Depot into the 1st Field Artillery Brigade
12 Nov 1915: Promoted Australian Army (Post WW2), Driver, 1st Field Artillery Brigade, Promoted from Private to Driver
26 Mar 1916: Involvement Australian Army (Post WW2), Driver, SN 5809, 1st Field Artillery Brigade
2 Apr 1916: Embarked Australian Army (Post WW2), Driver, SN 5809, 21st Field Artillery Brigade, Disembarked at Marseilles, France.
1 May 1916: Involvement Australian Army (Post WW2), Driver, SN 5809, 1st Field Artillery Brigade
29 Oct 1916: Transferred Australian Army (Post WW2), Driver, 1st Divisional Ammunition Column, Posted to the No.4 section 1st Divisional Ammunition Column.
3 Nov 1916: Transferred Australian Army (Post WW2), Driver, 1st Field Artillery Brigade, Transferred from the 1st Divisional Ammunition Column [D.A.C] to the 1st Field Artillery Brigade [F.A.B.]
19 Aug 1917: Promoted Australian Army (Post WW2), Bombardier, 1st Field Artillery Brigade, Quote - "Due for promotion T/Bdr [Temporary Bombardier] from 19/8/1917. He was promoted to a Temporary Bombardier.
1 Oct 1917: Honoured Military Medal, 'For excellent leadership displayed during operations at WESTHOEK on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd October, 1917 during supply of ammunition to the Battery well forward. The roads were continually under heavy fire and although men and horses were hit, these N.C.O.s [BULL and 5482 W. McGEE] continued to guide their parties day and night in order that the Battery could be maintained in action. They all showed a disregard for personal safety and all remained in danger area until the last man of their respective party was safely away before themselves getting clear.' The recommendation for a bravery award for Sappers Leslie Bull and William McGee was marked for ‘immediate reward’ by the Officer in Charge Major J.C Smelts of the 101st Howitzer Battery.
16 Oct 1917: Wounded Australian Army (Post WW2), Driver, SN 5809, 1st Field Artillery Brigade, Wounded in action by gas.
16 Oct 1917: Wounded Australian Army (Post WW2), Driver, SN 5809, 1st Field Artillery Brigade, Wounded in action by gas.
6 May 1918: Promoted Australian Army (Post WW2), Sergeant, 1st Field Artillery Brigade, Promoted to the rank of Temporary Sergeant after he received the rank of Corporal.
6 May 1918: Involvement Australian Army (Post WW2), Sergeant, SN 5809, 1st Field Artillery Brigade
6 May 1918: Promoted Australian Army (Post WW2), Corporal, 1st Field Artillery Brigade, Promoted to the rank of Corporal.
20 May 1918: Involvement Australian Army (Post WW2), Sergeant, SN 5809, 1st Field Artillery Brigade
21 May 1918: Promoted Australian Army (Post WW2), Corporal, 1st Field Artillery Brigade, Reverted to the permanent rank of Corporal.
21 May 1918: Wounded Australian Army (Post WW2), Sergeant, SN 5809, 1st Field Artillery Brigade, Admitted to the hospital sick.
28 May 1918: Wounded Australian Army (Post WW2), Corporal, SN 5809, 1st Field Artillery Brigade, Admitted to L of C hospital.
20 Jul 1918: Wounded Australian Army (Post WW2), Corporal, SN 5809, 1st Field Artillery Brigade, Discharged from HSP [Hospital] to base depot, ex sick.
19 Sep 1918: Transferred Australian Army (Post WW2), Corporal, 1st Field Artillery Brigade, Rejoined the 1st F.A.B [Field Artillery Brigade.]

Help us honour Leslie Sylvester Bull's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by David Bull

Leslie Sylvester Bull, was born and raised in a town called Eaglehawk, Victoria in July, 1895, and was raised by his father, S.Bull. Leslie was 5 feet  and 6 inches tall, and average weight. He had blue eyes, light brown hair, and medium skin colour.

Once he grew older, Leslie worked as a miner and in 1914, at the age of 19, he decided to join the war.

Leslie completed his enlistment form with success and the 15th of July, 1915, he enlisted into the Australian Imperial Forces [A.I.F] embarking for active service abroad. On the 12th of November that same year he was transferred to the 1st Field Artillery Brigade, [1st F.A.B] and was promoted to a driver.

Leslie embarked on the 26th of March, 1916, and was sent to Alexandria for training with the British Expeditionary Forces [B.E.F] for a few days.


After training, they embarked on a boat to Marseilles, France and on the 2nd of April that year, they disembarked.

On the 1st of May, 1916, he was sentenced to seven days in No.2 Detention Field Punishment [F.P] for mistreating a horse in the field, in France.

Leslie suffered his first injury in the war as he was wounded by gas in the 16th of October, 1917.

He was temporarily promoted to the rank of Bombardier, on the 19th of August, 1917.


A big surprise happened for Leslie as he had been awarded the Military Medal on the 7th of March, 1918. Quote -  Commonwealth Gazette, "He showed great leadership during operation at Westhoek on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of October, 1917 while they were supplying ammunition to the Artillery Battery. The roads were receiving heavy enemy fire continually, although men and horses were hit, Leslie Sylvester Bull and W.McGee 5482, continued to guide their paties day and night in order for that Artillery Battery could still be used in action. They all showed a disregard for their personal safety and remained in a danger area until the last man of their respective party was safely away before themselves getting clear."  

In 1918, on the 6 May, he received the temporary rank of Sergeant. On May the 20th, 1918, he was severely reprimanded by the Commanding Officer of the 1st A.F.A brigade, for using insolent language to a senior  Non-Commissioned Officer [N.C.O]. On the 21st of May, 1918, he was admitted to the hospital as he was sick and later that day was reverted to the permanent rank of Corporal. On the 20th of July, he was discharged from the hospital to the base depot. Then after a few months of rest, he was transferred back to his unit the 1st F.A.B.

Eventually, on the 9th March 1919 he embarked from England on the Kashmir [a troop transport] and returned to Australia.

On the 22nd of June, 1919, he was discharged from the A.I.F and his period of enlistment was terminated.

 

REFERENCES


https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Gallery151/dist/JGalleryViewer.aspx?B=3164404&S=1&N=25&R=0

 

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Biography contributed by Jack Coyne

LESLIE SYLVESTER BULL

MILITARY MEDAL 

 'For excellent leadership displayed during operations at WESTHOEK on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd October, 1917 during supply of ammunition to the Battery well forward. The roads were continually under heavy fire and although men and horses were hit, these N.C.O.s [BULL and 5482 W. McGEE] continued to guide their parties day and night in order that the Battery could be maintained in action. They all showed a disregard for personal safety and all remained in danger area until the last man of their respective party was safely away before themselves getting clear.'

 The recommendation for a bravery award for Sappers Leslie Bull and William McGee was marked for ‘immediate reward’ by the Officer in Charge Major J.C Smelts of the 101st Howitzer Battery.  

The Australian War Memorial best describes the horror of the fighting that took place in September and early October in Flanders, Belgium. ‘The British offensive at Ypres in 1917 came to represent all the horror and waste of the Western Front. Aiming not just to straighten out the salient, but to drive the Germans from Belgium, the offensive ended four months and half a million casualties later, just a few kilometres from where it began.

Australians spearheaded five of the 11 major assaults at Ypres during September and October: those at the Menin Road, Polygon Wood, Broodseinde Ridge, Poelcapelle and Passchendaele. The September attacks went relatively well, but in October the weather changed dramatically. Autumn rains turned the shell-torn ground into a morass, in which the wounded drowned and men struggled to make any headway. Thirty-eight thousand Australians were killed or wounded at Ypres’.[1]

Leslie Bull was born in Eaglehawk and attended California Gully State School. The Bendigo Advertiser reported on July 9, 1915 the following: ‘The recruiting campaign in Eaglehawk, which was initiated by the Borough Council several weeks ago, was further advanced last night, when a largely-attended and enthusiastic meeting was held in the Town Hall under the auspices of the State Parliamentary recruiting Committee. As a result seven young men signed up’.[2]

In that group of seven young Borough lads was Leslie Bull. Ten days later he would enlist formally at the Bendigo Town Hall.

Training took place at Seymour before Leslie embarked for war on October 11, 1915. On arrival in Egypt he was now designated as a ‘Driver’ the equivalent to a Private responsible for moving amunition and artillery by horses in the Divisional Ammunition Column 1. Records do not indicate whether he arrived in time to take part in failed Gallipoli Campaign. 

By March 1916 he left Egypt with his unit to join the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and sailed for France.

By November 1916, he is ‘Taken on Strength’ into the Field Artillery Brigade and spends a year at the front line. He is punished for disipline issues during that year before he takes part in the distatsourous Ypres campaign where he awarded a medal for bravery. He is wounded in action just a few days later on October 8. He is treated behind the lines in France and returns to his unit on October 31st when he is awarded the Military Medal. He would serve out the remaining 1918 year again with discipline and health issues and being promoted and demoted retaining the final rank of Corporal. He would return to Australia in April 1919.

 

Born: Eaglehawk 1895

Service Number: 5809

Address on Enlistment: Clark Street, Eaglehawk

School: California Gully

Enlisted: 19 July 1915

Age at Enlistment: 19

Occupation: Miner 

Embarked: HMAT A71 Nestor on 11 October 1915

Served: Western Front.

Unit: Divisional Ammunition Column 1

Final Rank: Corporal

Fate: Returned to Australia April 30, 1919

Died: unknown

Medal Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 31

Date: 7 March 1918

 

During operations at WESTHOEK on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd October, 1917.

‘On October 3rd, rain fell and the showery night resembled that of September 20th. The attack was to be at dawn- 6am. Forty minutes before that time, onlookers a mile in rear suddenly saw and heard the signs that at such a moment they most dreaded. German flares white and yellow, hazy in the drizzle, rose in sheaves on the Australian front, and presently the ‘crump crump’ of a heavy German barrage in the direction could be heard. It seemed a certain that the assembling troops had been detected and a barrage was laid on.’[3] 

 

[1] Australian War Memorial website https://www.awm.gov.au/visit/exhibitions/captured/official/western/ypres
[2] Bendigo Advertiser, 9 July 1915. P.3

[3] Anzac to Amiens, C.E.W.Bean. Penguin Books.2014. P. 369 – 370.

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