Leonard William Glanfield LAST

LAST, Leonard William Glanfield

Service Number: 15643
Enlisted: 23 August 1915
Last Rank: Gunner
Last Unit: 11th Field Artillery Brigade
Born: Young, New South Wales, Australia, July 1893
Home Town: Mosman, Municipality of Mosman, New South Wales
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Surveyor
Died: Killed in action, France, 23 December 1916
Cemetery: Delville Wood Cemetery, Longueval
Plot X, Row G, Grave 3
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

23 Aug 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Gunner, SN 15643, 11th Field Artillery Brigade
22 Mar 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Gunner, 22nd Field Artillery (Howitzer) Brigade
14 Apr 1916: Involvement Gunner, SN 15643, 11th Field Artillery Brigade
14 Apr 1916: Embarked Gunner, SN 15643, 11th Field Artillery Brigade , HMAT Ceramic, Sydney

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Biography contributed by Evan Evans

From François Berthout

Gunner SRN15643 Leonard William Glanfield Last

In the fields and cemeteries of the Somme, the poppies grow under the benevolent light of the sun which extends its rays on the graves of millions of young men who, in the prime of their lives, lost their youth and gave their today in the trenches that nature now covers with a mantle of peace and silence.The sounds of machine guns and cannons have disappeared in the darkness of the past but all these men, who rest in peace here, on these lands of France, on these Land of Remembrance, will live forever in the light, in our hearts and today, I would like, with gratitude, to honor the memory of one of these young men, I would like to pay a very respectful tribute to Gunner number 15643 Leonard William Glanfield Last who fought in the 22nd Brigade of the Australian Field Artillery and who was killed in action 104 years ago, on December 23, 1916 at the age of 23 on the Somme front.

Leonard William Glanfield Last was born on July 8, 1893 in Young, New South Wales, and was the son of Leonard Henry Last and Fanny Elizabeth Last (née Piggott), of St Alban, Spit Road, Mosman, New South Wales.Leonard was educated at the North Sydney Church of England Grammar School and before the outbreak of the war, he lived at 54 Spit Road, Mosman and worked as a surveyor for Mr. R.P Atkins.
Enlisted at Holsworthy, New South Wales, on August 8, 1915, in the 11th Brigade of the Australian Field Artillery, Reinforcement 2, he embarked with his unit from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A40 Ceramic on April 14, 1916 and sailed for Alexandria, Egypt. After Egypt, Leonard embarked with his unit for France on April 29 and was disembarked at Marseilles on June 5. The next day, June 6, 1916, he was sent to the 2nd Australian Division Base Depot at Etaples and was promoted to the rank of Acting Sergeant on June 24. Two months later, on August 9, 1916, Leonard was demoted to the permanent rank of Gunner and transferred to the 22nd Brigade of the Australian Field Artillery on August 21 and joined the Somme front where he was posted with the 19th Battery of the 22nd Brigade of the Australian Field Artillery.

Leonard fought with great courage in the Somme but unfortunately, four months later, on December 23, 1916, he met his fate and was killed in action in the Longueval sector, he was 23 years old.

Today Leonard William Glanfield Last rests in peace with his friends, comrades and brothers in arms at Delville Wood Cemetery, Longueval, Somme, and his grave bears the following inscription "In thy presence is fulness of joy".

Leonard, you who were young, with bravery, answered the call of duty alongside your comrades under the rising Australian sun and put on the uniform to protect peace and freedom on the soils of France and dark clouds of raging war.Young and confident, you walked alongside your brothers in arms, determined to do your duty and ready to fight courageously for every meter, you joined the battlefields and the trenches that stole your youth in mud and blood of thousands of men whom the war had already shattered in assaults as courageous as they were murderous.United in this nameless nightmare, they faced rain of shells, which tirelessly, relentlessly, changed verdant landscapes into oceans of mud forever scarified by thousands of shell holes in which so many men, horses and of hopes drowned in a deep and sticky mud in which they lived day and night hearing the dismal roar of cannons that caused death and destruction.in this hell, these men who were paralyzed by fear, yet kept their humor and fought with unwavering determination, they stood bravely, their convictions and their hopes were not broken and they moved forward heroically through what was among the worst and deadliest battles in the Somme such as Pozieres, Mouquet Farm, Amiens, Flers, Gueudecourt, Villers-Bretonneux, the Australian army fought with bravery, perseverance, determination, words that honor with force ANZAC spirit. alongside their brothers in arms, they shed their blood on the poppies which still bear the traces of the past and the history of men who gave their lives who, together, moved forward under the downpours of bullets poured out by deadly machine gun fire that mowed down the lives of a whole generation of men who collapsed at an infernal rate in the cold steel of barbed wire. Bruised by terrible losses, they saw their friends, their comrades who fell day after day but despite the pains, sorrow, suffering they endured, they never backed down and did more than ordinary men can do with extraordinary bravery.Not all of them received medals for their acts of bravery but all were heroes that history will never forget, time and the weight of years will not condemn them, here in the Somme, we will be forever grateful to them and we will keep their memories intact and alive with the greatest care, we will always watch with respect, love and benevolence over their graves that we will flower and that I will protect, as well as their history with deep love, with in my heart the pride of whom they were and what they did for us and who they are today, my boys of the Somme, my heroes, each of them will always have their place in my heart and my life that I want to dedicate them. Bringing these men to life by telling their stories is more than an honor, it is a privilege of every day and I would always carry high and proud the flame of remembrance walking respectfully through the rows of their graves so that in the light their names never cease to shine and in our hearts they never cease to live.Thank you so much Leonard, for all you have done for us, we will never forget you.At the going down of the sun and in the morning,we will remember him,we will remember them.