Leslie Roy (Silvy) BARRETT

BARRETT, Leslie Roy

Service Number: 2440
Enlisted: 12 May 1915, Bridgetown, Western Australia
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 16th Infantry Battalion (WW1)
Born: Perth, Western Australia, 1892
Home Town: Perth, Western Australia
Schooling: Scotch College, Perth
Occupation: Farm hand
Died: Shellfire, France, 5 February 1917
Cemetery: Beaulencourt British Cemetery, Ligny-Thilloy
I H 19,
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Baskerville Upper Swan WW1 Honour Roll, Bridgetown Memorial Park, Nedlands Scotch College WW1 Honour Roll
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World War 1 Service

12 May 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 2440, Bridgetown, Western Australia
18 Jun 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 2440, 16th Infantry Battalion (WW1), Enlistment/Embarkation WW1, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '12' embarkation_place: Fremantle embarkation_ship: HMAT Chilka embarkation_ship_number: A51 public_note: ''
18 Jun 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 2440, 16th Infantry Battalion (WW1), HMAT Chilka, Fremantle
2 Aug 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 2440, 16th Infantry Battalion (WW1), ANZAC / Gallipoli
12 Aug 1915: Wounded Private, 2440, 16th Infantry Battalion (WW1), The August Offensive - Lone Pine, Suvla Bay, Sari Bair, The Nek and Hill 60 - Gallipoli, Bomb wound (thigh)
5 Feb 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 2440, 16th Infantry Battalion (WW1)

He died with his mates

When researching my great-uncle, Cyril Harvey Kelly (3501), who was killed in action on 5 February 1917, I came across a letter in a family archive, written by a fellow soldier, stating that Cyril died with three of his mates, when a shell landed in their dug-out, near Gueudecourt, France.

The letter mentioned the three members of his gun crew who were also killed, and after further research I identified them as:
2440 Silvy (Leslie Roy) Barrett
3426 Bob (Robert James) Cassidy
5216 Harry Washer

The letter also stated that the four were buried together on the battlefield, however this grave must have been lost, as three of the four men are listed as having no known grave (and are commemorated on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial). Silvy having been reburied in the Beaulencourt British Cemetery leads me to suspect that the other three may me among the many unidentified graves there.

Cyril was remembered in a Last Post Ceremony at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra on 5 February 2014, and the card left with the wreath (to be kept in perpetuity by the AWM) also lists his three mates.

I now leave not one, but four poppies on the Roll of Honour when I visit the Australian War Memorial. Lest we forget.

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Biography contributed by Jane Sykes

Educated at Scotch College, Leslie was a Methodist and working as a farm hand. At the time he enlisted (1915) his parents lived at 26 Marlborough St, East Perth, while he gave his address as care of the Bridgetown Post Office (AIF Database). He died alongside a few of his comrades when a shell fell on their trench. They were buried on the spot but were presumably later relocated (Discovering our ANZACs).

Confusingly, his cousin, 3261 Pte. Roy Leslie Barrett (/explore/people/342003), also of Perth, died eight months later. His war record variously refers to being killed in France or at Passchendaele, but having a memorial cross in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery near Poperinghe (Belgium). Roy is memorialised on the Menin Gate, Panel 29. The references to death in France is possibly an inclusion of Leslie's information in Roy's record, as there is at least one other instance in the Roy's record of a correction as a notification of illness for Leslie had been sent to Roy's family (Discovering our ANZACs). Roy's war record states his correct surname was Stradwick, and that he'd been born in Adelaide but moved to his maternal aunt's home in Perth after being orphaned as an infant (Discovering our ANZACs).